St. Clair County residents will have an opportunity to shape healthcare policy in the future, now that the county has been randomly selected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to be part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey this spring.
Jack Powers with the CDC met with the St. Clair County Health Care Commission on Tuesday to provide an overview of the survey, which is designed to assess the health and nutritional status of adults and children in the United States through interviews and physical examinations.
“The ... survey gives the federal government a snapshot of the health and nutritional status of people living in the United States,” Powers said.
St. Clair County was one of 15 counties in the country selected to be part of the annual national survey.
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“You will represent 1/15 of the national profile of the health and nutrition of people in the United States,” Powers told members of the health care commission.
The CDC is still determining a site for the Mobile Examination Center, which Powers described as like a “field hospital.” The Mobile Examination Center incorporates four different trailers connected with accordion passageways.
“There’s a direct correlation between response rate and where we put the Mobile Examination Center,” he said. “We are trying to determine the best spot in the county.”
Currently, the CDC is looking at St. Clair Square Mall in Fairview Heights as one possible location. However, Powers said a final determination has not been made.
Prior to the physical exams, 15 interviewers will begin talking to members of households in St. Clair County selected in advance by the CDC. Powers said 24 different areas or segments of the county have been identified based on the latest U.S. Census data.
24 segments in St. Clair County
750 screening interviews
480 identified sample persons
Households selected to be part of the survey by the CDC will receive a letter in English and Spanish in the mail two to three weeks before the interviews are set to begin, which is May 6.
About 750 screening interviews are expected to be completed, Powers said, with about 480 people selected for physical exams. On average, about 71 percent of people selected actually participate in the exams, according to Powers. That would come to about 340 people in St. Clair County.
“We do everything we can to get those 340 people,” Powers said, including providing transportation to and from the exams, monetary compensation as well as babysitting services and elder care if needed. “Each of these people represent roughly 65,000 other people from the population. We can’t substitute.”
The CDC is especially interested in sampling African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanics and elderly residents, according to Powers.
“We have a very high success rate with senior citizens,” he said.
Powers described the screening as a “very important study. It helps us zero in on chronic problems and determines programs,” he said.
Mark Peters with the St. Clair County Health Department said the department is willing to help the CDC with its survey however it can.
“This will be an interesting opportunity,” he said.
Schedule for the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey
- April 30: Mobile Exam Center arrives
- May 2: Office opens
- May 6: Interviewing begins
- May 24: Open house
- May 25: Examinations begin
- June 28: Examinations end