ST. CLAIR, Ill. (KMOX) – St. Clair County is ranked 93rd out of 102 counties in the state of Illinois when it comes to the health of its residents.

Hundreds gathered at the 8th Health Policy Summit to decide what steps should be taken to change that ranking.

From violence prevention to chronic disease, panelists spoke of their vision for turning those poor health rates around.

Dr. Desarie Holmes with Touchette Regional Hospital in Centreville said the shortage of treatment is causing some addicts to backdoor their way into hospitals, by lying about being suicidal.

The keynote speaker, Dr. Tyler Norris, CEO of the Institute for Mental Health and Wellness in California, said the way to improve health is to invest in things that are upstream from good health, like economic opportunity, safe places to play and access to healthy food.

Mark Peters, director of community health for St. Clair County, knows they have an uphill battle to the original goal of being one of the healthiest communities by 2020.

“Just realigning, reconnecting and trying to set that goal in motion again, even if we have to push it back eight years to the year 2025,” he says.

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