MANATEE COUNTY , Fla. (WWSB) - Healthcare access and costs are an issue across the country and in Manatee County where recently hundreds of people lined up at Manatee Technical College for much needed free health services.
Thursday at Pier 22 in Bradenton, health care experts sat down at Manatee County Tiger Bay to discuss what can be done to resolve this issue for so many county residents.
Many agreed patients need to be educated on healthy ways to prevent sickness and disease.
“If we’re just educated on some of the small lifestyle changes that we can make to prevent some of these chronic disease like diabetes, heart disease, and Alzheimer disease, it doesn’t take much in the way of medication, it’s what you put on the other end of that fork," said Dr. Chris Davis of Reveal Vitality.
Local experts say once healthy practices are established, hopefully there will be a decrease in the amount of doctors visits, chronic and acute diagnosis and the need to be on medication.
Some of the bigger health concerns in the county are drug abuse, mental health and aging problems like hearing loss and arthritis.
“We received a grant to educate doctors on alternatives to opioids and a grant for the aging population on falls prevention," said Dr. Jennifer Bencie of the Florida Department of Health.
As the population of the county grows, healthcare professionals say they are planning for the future.
“Blake Medical Center will be expanding its footprint and expanding its emergency center and monitor bed capacity,” says Randy Currin, President/CEO of Blake Medical Center.
The hospital will also be doubling its bed capacity.