Survey could help improve health in Central Illinois

By WEEK Producer

April 23, 2014 Updated Apr 23, 2014 at 10:32 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill -- A plan to bring better health care to Central Illinois is in the works.

Under the affordable health care act, all health care providers are required to assess health care needs in their own community.

That assessment locally found two major issues.

The first is getting people to live healthy lifestyles at a younger age, before they are at a higher risk for things like obesity and asthma.

The second is informing residents on affordable options.

"Many people felt that they could not come to the hospital, they could not go to a physician, because they could not afford the care," said Rick Thomas, Executive Director of Ambulatory Services at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center. "But we have charity care. We have a number of programs that are free of charge, and we can get people in to care."

Thomas says the next step is to inform residents of programs most beneficial to Central Illinois