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7/18/2013 6:00:00 AM
Are Kingman's health concerns misplaced?
Brian Turney
Brian Turney

Suzanne Adams-Ockrassa
Miner Staff Reporter

KINGMAN - According to Mohave County's first community health survey, most residents rated substance abuse as the No. 1 health problem in the county - but statistics suggest that may not be the case.

Twenty-one percent of the 1,756 residents who filled out the survey rated drug addiction as the "most important health problem" in their community. Alcoholism followed in second place with nearly 12 percent and aging problems came in third with nearly 11 percent. But according to statistics cited in the report, the leading killer of Mohave County residents in 2011 was cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular disease includes heart attacks and strokes and is the leading cause of death worldwide.

"It was interesting that some of our most chronic health problems and leading causes of premature death in the community (heart disease, cancer, and lung disease) were not considered high-priority health problems by survey respondents," said Kingman Regional Medical Center CEO Brian Turney. "Most surprising is that smoking, which is a primary cause of these conditions and epidemic in our community, did not rank very high as a problem health behavior. Instead, respondents felt that drug and alcohol abuse are more important community health concerns."

The online survey is part of a larger report, the Community Health Profile for Mohave County, Arizona, that was compiled by KRMC and the Mohave County Department of Public Health. The idea was to identify the county's biggest health problems by gathering state and federal statistics and information from healthcare providers and the public.

The report was released to the public on July 10 and is available online at the Mohave County Department of Public Health's website at and at KRMC's website, The information from the report will be used to create a plan to improve the health of the county, which should be finished by the beginning of 2014. The county will repeat the process every three years to keep up with the changing needs of the community.

According to the report, approximately 402 people in every 100,000 people in Mohave County died in 2011 from cardiovascular disease. Mohave County has a population of more than 200,000. That same year, drugs caused around 27 deaths and 15 deaths were caused by alcohol.

Only 5 percent of survey takers listed cardiovascular diseases as one of the most important health problems in their community.

Cardiovascular disease is linked to poor diet, not enough exercise and smoking. According to the report, 80 percent of Mohave County residents over the age of 18 in 2009 reported they didn't eat five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, 26 percent said they weren't very active in the last month and 28 percent reported they were obese.

Mohave County does have a serious substance abuse problem. According to a 2010 needs assessment paid for by the Mohave Substance Treatment, Education and Prevention Partnership, Mohave County has one of the highest rates of substance abuse in the state, especially when it comes to methamphetamine.

According to that study, the county had more per capita meth-related arrests between 2006 and 2008 than any other county in the state. During those same two years, Mohave County also had the highest percentage of alcohol-related crashes in the state and the Kingman Police Department also reported an increase in substance abuse by students.

The Community Health Profile lists the second leading cause of death for Mohave County residents in 2011 as cancer, with more than 300 people in every 100,000 residents dying from various types of the disease.

The third leading cause of death in the county, with around 100 people in every 100,000 residents, was due to chronic lower respiratory disease, which includes chronic bronchitis, emphysema, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

"The death rate from COPD in Mohave County is alarmingly high and most certainly attributed to the large number of smokers in the community," the report states.

According to the report, in 2010, 28 percent of Mohave County residents over the age of 18 in Mohave County reported that they smoked. That same year, 18 percent of Arizona residents and 19 percent of Americans reported they smoked.

"Another interesting result is that the majority of survey respondents ranked their own health as 'healthy' but ranked the health of the community as 'unhealthy,'" Turney said.

Fifty-nine percent of the people who took the survey rated their personal health as "healthy." But, 53 percent of that same group rated the general health of their community as "somewhat unhealthy."

Good jobs were the best way to improve the health of the community according to 14 percent of the survey takers. Eleven percent said better access to quality health care would help.

Those sentiments were reflected in some of the comments respondents wrote on their surveys. Many of the comments were truly heart-wrenching, Turney said.

"With no insurance, I often go to the ER for treatment I can't pay for," wrote one survey taker.

"(I) can't afford co-pays for proper medicine, so I've had to use hand-me-downs from other people that (is) usually not the dosage given by the doctor," said another survey taker.

"Family member has (multiple sclerosis. I) have applied several times for disability for her and been denied. She can't afford her medication/treatment. (The Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System) only covers her kids. She uses the emergency room for herself," a third survey respondent wrote.

According to the report, the lack of access to preventative care and health insurance is directly related to the county's high hospitalization rates, death rates from preventable diseases, cancer death rates, serious dental problems and high rates of premature deaths. The lack of primary care physicians and public transportation in a huge rural county only add to the problem.

There are too many people in Mohave County who are suffering and unable to get the help they need, Turney said. The community's problems are very complex and solutions will take the entire community working together, he said, which is why KRMC and the Mohave County Department of Health have formed a community health coalition to prioritize and address the issues.

For more information, call Patty Mead, the director of the Mohave County Department of Public Health, at (928) 753-0774 or Jamie Taylor, the Kingman Regional Medical Center Director of Public Relations, at (928) 757-0664.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, July 19, 2013
Article comment by: Frank Lee Speaking

@Oprah Winfrey

"Shouldn't we be focusing on improving the quality of life for our residents, or do you consider that socialism?"

Because someone did not apply themselves and dropped out of high school they are suddenly everyone else's responsibility? Sorry, they are not.

I have no responsibility for improving the quality of life" for them. Someone who has fallen on hard times, certainly. But not someone who through there own action, or rather, inaction, freely chose to fail.

But I would be interested in your recommendations. I am sure most of them will considt of taking money from people who have not chosen to fail, and giving it to them.

I am well aware of the figures you used and do not doubt them at all. I have read the last U.S. Census figures for Mohave County. The area is cheaper to live in than many other areas. It attracts a large number of the uneducated and unskilled. The low cost of living also helps to explain why we have a large population of methheads and other drug/alcohol abusers. Your suggestion that we are somehow responsible for taking care of them will always make me....


Your expect

Posted: Friday, July 19, 2013
Article comment by: Birdland Living Living

No one mentioned the fact that 2 feet of dirt is being removed from local neighborhoods, because of toxic chemicals. Also the miner thinks stories such as Route 66 paintings on a (delete) hotel is good news, give the community a break and talk real life.

Posted: Friday, July 19, 2013
Article comment by: Anson's Nephew


“Once they know you're on Medicare, they order an ungodly number of tests, that cost more than the annual GNP of Guatemala.”

I suggest you immediately change doctors. These are the clowns that the changes in the ACA are going after – Medicare scammers. I am also on Medicare and literally nothing changed when I went on in regards to tests. The only difference is that I now have coverage for things that were not previously covered by my Death Panel insurance company.

BTW – you DO have the right to refuse any tests you feel are unnecessary.

Posted: Friday, July 19, 2013
Article comment by: Oprah Winfrey

(delete) wrote "the worst in education, health care, ...."

Education? Are the teachers really that bad?"

Healthcare? There are lots of doctors, clinics, and even a large hospital here. Oh wait, you mean FREE healthcare.
Spoken like a true leftist. I would love to hear your recommendations. I need my "laff-o-the-day" in order to.....


I see nothing "LOL" about a report recently released by the county Public Health Department that said 3 out of 10 Mohave County residents don't have a doctor. Almost half (well, 44% anyway) haven't been to a dentist in the last YEAR.

17% of Mohave County residents didn't graduate from high school. Only 12% graduated from college. 16% of Mohave County residents live in poverty. These numbers are all worse than the state average.

Shouldn't we be focusing on improving the quality of life for our residents, or do you consider that socialism?

Joker Wilde had a good point. A few weeks ago there was a letter to the editor about free lunches for kids where commenters said "not on my dime." But try to take away old people's tv signal and all of a sudden it's everyone's responsibility to pay for Grandma to watch Wheel of Fortune.

I am confused by Mohave County's standards. So it's only socialism when it comes to health care and education but not when it comes to county-funded television or a city-funded golf course?

Posted: Friday, July 19, 2013
Article comment by: SAM WELLS

"The forms of chronic cardiovascular disease that are most commonly associated with methamphetamine use are coronary artery disease and cardiomyopathy". I have read this in several papers. I also watched on ABC news special. Are you sure DRUGS and ALCOHOL. are not one of our biggest problems? Maybe we can just keep the status quo and keep ignoring that our county is under siege with drugs abuse. I would guess that would be easier than funding a good treatment program and tougher laws

Posted: Friday, July 19, 2013
Article comment by: gun owner 000

As a recent subscriber to Medicare, what I've been seeing is an insatiable greed on the part of doctors and health care institutions. Once they know you're on Medicare, they order an ungodly number of tests, that cost more than the annual GNP of Guatemala. And of course, since Medicare only pays 80%, the victim...UH, patient faces financial ruin trying to pay his share of the bill. It's a sad day when a patient goes in for a flu shot, and ends up getting a procedure that costs a quarter million dollars....Remember, 20% of that is still $12,500... Pocket change to a doctor, financial ruin for a Social security recipient.

Posted: Friday, July 19, 2013
Article comment by: Frank Lee Speaking

(delete)"the worst in education, health care, ...."

Education? Are the teachers really that bad?

Healthcare? There are lots of doctors, clinics, and even a large hospital here. Oh wait, you mean FREE healthcare.

Spoken like a true leftist. I would love to hear your recommendations. I need my "laff-o-the-day" in order to.....


Posted: Thursday, July 18, 2013
Article comment by: Allan Gleason

I've been on Medicare for 17 years. During that time I've had a prostate operation and had a couple of stents inserted in my heart arteries. I'm also considering having a knee replaced(?). Without Medicare I probably wouldn't be alive today! My out-of-pocket costs are about 25% of my gross income. It is too bad that Medicare isn't available to everyone because with younger, healthier members the program's costs would be much less and Americans would be much healthier!

Posted: Thursday, July 18, 2013
Article comment by: joker wilde

Mohave County the worst in education, health care, etc., and supervisors continue to debate the worth of the TV signal. Shows you conservative values.

Posted: Thursday, July 18, 2013
Article comment by: listen to answers

drugs and alcohol are the major problems. tobacco was not a big concern because most cardiovascular issues are weight, blood pressure, right diet. i think tobacco was added because of a biased wish to control smoking in the area. listen to what your results were, no speculations.

Posted: Thursday, July 18, 2013
Article comment by: mr. parker

What's the surprise? Cardiovascular disease is the number 1 killer nationwide. Cancer and pulmonary diseases are 2nd and 3rd. Same as everywhere else.

What's more,26% of people aren't active, 28% smoke. These are 2 cornerstones of preventive medicine along with diet.

Obamacare is not going to help. The main authors are either abandoning it or delaying its provisions. It will strangle the economy and create more part time instead of full time jobs .Even unions who supported it are complaining about it.

To lower healthcare costs, make insurance competitive-be able to sell across state lines- and institute tort reform. You'll have savings that will allow for coverage of pre existing conditions.

From the AHCCCS website:
"You can apply for YOURSELF, your family, or someone close to you. Health-e-Arizona will screen your application based on the information you entered and send your application to an office for a decision."

Posted: Thursday, July 18, 2013
Article comment by: Sensible Moderate

It's no surprise that residents think drug and alcohol abuse are the biggest problems. They're the problems that usually impact the community in a direct and immediate way. Drug abuse leads to lots of property and violent crime, and alcohol abuse leads to horrible drunk-driving crashes.

Things like heart disease and cancer, while difficult for the person and his or her family, don't have the same negative impact on everyone else.

Of course, seeing that these long term diseases would be better managed if everyone had access to comprehensive health care is something that the anti-science, anti-facts, "party of stupid" folks willfully ignore.

Posted: Thursday, July 18, 2013
Article comment by: Medicare for All

So it would seem the biggest problem facing our residents is not having health coverage. And how many decades have we had private insurance companies solely responsible for providing that coverage? Private companies providing one of the most serious aspects of our lives hasn't worked. This is why all of the modern industrialized world (except USA) has some form of government health care. The Affordable Health Care Act will go a long way to correct this. Yet, Medicare for All would have corrected the situation overnight.

Posted: Thursday, July 18, 2013
Article comment by: Joe Just another

Thanks for this informative article really. My father for one has heart disease. Do you know what some of the contributing factors were hmmm let me tell you ALCOHOL. Not too many people that will admit to it so it skews the results. Do you know how many druggies that probably have screwed up their heart with crack-speed any of those that cause your heart to race? Do you have many that admit to doing drugs. Sorry but your survey is probably not the most accurate when it comes to the causes... Just sayin' Nice pic Doc :-)

Posted: Thursday, July 18, 2013
Article comment by: Al DiCicco

ADEQ says the air is fine, but they do not test for heavy metals or at all in Mohave County. Look at the air...Don't forget the white elephant in the sky. We are all toxic with heavy metals including but not limited to Aluminum, Barium, and Strontium. This toxicity can cause many symptoms, including cardiovascular failure, COPD and many other often leading to death. There many who have tested blood, hair, rain and soil. Ask the Mohave County Health Board. We presented this evidence 2-years ago and never received a proper investigation. They blame high Aluminum on eating Brazil nuts, not joking. It's in the public records and on youtube. We need a new Health Board. Do a few days of research and get out of your offices!

Posted: Thursday, July 18, 2013
Article comment by: Oh Ya

It's going to be interesting to see what happens to all those people when KRMC no longer accepts ACCESS!

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