Divided into program days throughout the Leadership Bartow curriculum, participants from local business, nonprofit, education and government learn each month about the resources and opportunities in Bartow County. Wednesday, those participants explored the local resources in the field of health and wellness.
“We really wanted highlight the different aspects, reaching someone in each division of health care, whether it be mental health or fitness or family medicine or the nonprofit areas of health care,” said H&H Realty agent Leah Woodall, planning committee member for Health & Wellness Day. “I think we also wanted to convey some of the changes that have happened in Bartow County in the last 25 years and making them aware of the resources that we do have available — just showing folks that you don’t have to go to Atlanta or Cobb County for some of these resources, that we do have them in Bartow.”
Guided tours led the group through The Hope Center, Cartersville Medical Center and Bartow Health Access, while panel discussions touched on topics of health care reform, nutrition and exercise, technology advancements and chiropractic care.
“One thing we thought was really important was to address the Affordable Care Act, because so many people have questions about how that’s going to impact everything and we wanted to hear from actual health care providers how it’s going to impact them and what they think will occur in the future,” said Bartow County Library System Director Carmen Sims, planning committee member. “Another thing was to demonstrate the remarkable resources we have available in the medical and wellness fields here in Bartow County.
“If it’s something you don’t use, you’re not always aware of it, like the Da vinci robotic surgery system and The Hope Center. As for wellness, we all know you need to be healthy, but to see the opportunities we have here and how important having a healthy, well workforce is to our economy — that is pretty much what we wanted to get across to participants.”
In the conversation on health care reform and the Affordable Care Act, panelists of health care providers could agree on the need for transitioning away from episodic care toward a more efficient method of health care, but feel the current legislation will be debilitating to the system. Flooding an understaffed medical market with newly insured patients, one panelist, Dr. Thomas Bevill of The Family Medicine Clinic, expects physician wait times to increase drastically as fewer doctors enter the field.
“We wanted to hear about insurance and coverage, because it’s a little more heartfelt coming from a family physician that’s been practicing in Cartersville for 25 years,” Woodall said. “When it comes to legislation and insurance changes, the things you hear on the news, you’re really able to form your own opinion when you get feedback from your hometown physicians about how it’s going to help or hurt you individually.”
After speaking to service providers, participants visited Sue Hopkins, owner of Etowah Valley Yoga. At her Yoga Etc. location on West Avenue, Hopkins shared about the health benefits of practicing yoga and other meditation exercises, including Qi Gong and Tai Chi.
Ending the program was another panel discussion focusing on nutrition, exercise, message therapy and chiropractic care followed by a presentation from the Coalition to Prevent the Misuse of Alcohol. CPMA is a Cartersville-based nonprofit engaged in the reduction of alcohol consumption by minors. A study conducted by the organization found serious issues in Bartow County with the use of alcohol by teens and pre-teens.
Organizers hearing feedback from participants noticed a lot of intrigue after operating the CMC robotic surgery simulator, taking a brief yoga lesson and seeing the mission of Bartow Health Access to reach the uninsured. For Woodall, Bartow Health Access and other tours helped her understand the need and urgency behind such organizations, an awareness she and other organizers hoped to share with all Leadership Bartow participants.
“It was definitely insightful to see the faces and the numbers and the inside of buildings and a lot of the day-to-day things in these organizations,” Woodall said, emphasizing the need felt at Bartow Health Access. “They rely so heavily on grants and local fundraising. [Executive Director Roberta Green’s] goals are very ambitious, but she’s got the expertise to back that up and the experience of having done that before. It’s encouraging having someone that is extremely knowledgeable and knows exactly where she is going.”