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Key Assessment Findings

When asked to grade the overall health of Roane County, focus group participants’ responses ranged from a low of “D” to a high of “C” with the average grade being a “C-“. In determining the most significant issues to improve the health of Roane County we kept posing the question, “What improvements are needed to attain a B+?” Ultimately, the assessment group determined the following to be priority areas for Roane County:

  • Prescription Drug Abuse
  • Transportation
  • Affordable Prescriptions
  • Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome Incidence

Other Findings

What the residents told us:

The three most important factors for a healthy Roane County are:

  • Good jobs and healthy economy (response 42%)
  • Low crime / safe neighborhoods (response 41%)
  • Good schools (response 37%)

The three most important health problems in Roane County are:

  • Cancers (responses 36%)
  • Obesity (responses 34%)
  • Mental health (responses 33%)

The three most important “risky behaviors” in Roane County are:

  • Drug abuse (response 82%)
  • Alcohol abuse (response 50%)
  • Tobacco use (response 39%)

Areas of Strengths and Opportunities

Quality of Life


  • 67% of respondents are ‘satisfied’ to ‘very satisfied’ with the quality of life in Roane County.
  • 65% of respondents are ‘satisfied’ to ‘very satisfied’ with Roane County as a place to grow old and as a place to raise a family.
  • Lower prevalence of violent crime than the state average, but not lower than US benchmarks.


  • Only 30% of respondents are satisfied with economic opportunities in Roane County.
  • 54% of all restaurants in Roane County are fast food restaurants.
  • High school graduation rate (78%) is lower than the state average (86%).
  • Children in poverty (29%) is higher than the statewide rate and double the US benchmark (14%).

Overall Health


  • Teen birth rate is lower than the statewide rate but still double the US benchmark.
  • Adult smoking rates (16%) are among the lowest in the state (23%) and approaching the national benchmark (13%).


  • Roane County is ranked 55th healthiest county in Tennessee out of 95 counties.
  • Premature death in Roane County is significantly higher than the state average and nearly twice that of the US Benchmark.

Health Care


  • Preventable hospital stays are considerably below the statewide average.
  • The percentage of adults who could not see a doctor in the previous 12 months due to cost was 14% in Roane County, compared to 16% for Tennessee.
  • Roane County has a new state of the art hospital which opened in February 2013.
  • The uninsured adult rate for Roane County is 17%, better than the state average of 21%.


  • The number of physicians, dentists and mental health providers is quite low based on the need of Roane County’s population.
  • Access to affordable dental care and mental health counseling for mild to moderate conditions is lacking.
  • With the growing senior population there is a need for more providers who accept Medicare.
  • Only 44% of those surveyed are happy with the healthcare resources (access, cost, quality and options).

Healthy Behaviors


  • Most adults are receiving recommended screenings.
  • Sexually transmitted infections are 52% fewer than the statewide rate.


  • Prescription drug abuse is a significant issue in Roane County.
  • Adult obesity is higher (35%) than the state average (32%).
  • 35% of adults report no physical activity.