Celebrating the 21 st year of Walk to School Day, Edith I. Starke Elementary School in DeLand joined 18 schools in Volusia County and over 40 schools in the region to walk and bike safely to school. This event is part of a growing movement for year-round safe routes to school programs. Eilene Ahr, Assistant Principal of Starke was thrilled to have over 70 students walk and bike to school with parents, law enforcement representatives, and volunteers from Stetson University, Department of Health-Volusia County and the Health Planning Council of Northeast Florida (HPCNEF).
Safe Routes to School (SRTS) programs are committed to improve the health and well-being of children by enabling and encouraging them to walk and bicycle to school. HPCNEF coordinates the education component of the state of Florida’s SRTS initiative for our 7 county region. SRTS examines conditions in and around schools to improve safety and accessibility, and reduce traffic and air pollution in the vicinity of schools. As a result, SRTS helps make bicycling and walking to school safer and a more appealing transportation choice that encourages a healthy an d active lifestyle from an early age. To learn more about Safe Routes to School and promote long-term efforts to promote safe walking and bicycling every day, visit or contact the HPCNEF at 904.448.4300 ext 109.

Drugs, Alcohol and Suicide Are Fueling Young Americans’ Rising Death Rate.
New federal data shows young Americans are dying in rising numbers because of drugs, alcohol and suicide, TIME magazine reports. Death rates for Americans ages 15 to 44 rose by around 5 percent each year between 2013 and 2016, and drug overdoses, alcohol-related liver disease and suicide are chiefly to blame.  Read more.

For more information or questions regarding Mental Health First Aid, please go to  To find a course or to contact an instructor in your area, please visit  If you would like to host an Adult Mental Health First Aid class, please email Adult Mental Health First Aid is a FREE, 8-hour training course designed to give members of the public key skills to help someone who is developing or experiencing a mental health crisis. As of September 2018, the Jacksonville Hospital Partnership's trainers have helped 5,816 citizens become more aware of mental illnesses and how to de-escalate a mental crisis.

The Northeast Florida Cancer Collaborative is hard at work on updating the 2018-2019 Strategic Plan. Virtual meetings have allowed for collaborative work groups creating a S.M.A.R.T.E.R. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound, Evaluated, and Reviewed) strategic plan addressing cancer prevention and quality of life issues. Want to know more? Contact Flora Davis at 904-762-8601 for more information.

Affordable Care Act Enrollment Starts November 1, 2018
The Health Planning Council congratulates partner University of South Florida on receiving funding for the Affordable Care Act Navigator program. USF and the Health Planning Council look forward to an exciting year for Open Enrollment 6. The enrollment period for buying health insurance through the federal government starts Nov. 1. And in Florida, premiums should be relatively low compared to previous years. Read More

For assistance with enrollment you may call 877-813-9115 or visit the Covering Florida website:

The Florida Department of Health (FDOH) in Nassau County and the Health Planning Council partnered on an environmental health assessment called PACE EH (Protocol for Assessing Community Excellence in Environmental Health) to improve health in  Evergreen,  a rural community in central Nassau County. In partnership with the community, we evaluated local environmental health issues and set local priorities using data, community surveys, and interviews with key stakeholders in the Evergreen community. More than 30 representatives participated in the process from a variety of organizations, including Keep Nassau Beautiful, Nassau Board of County Commissioners, Nassau County Planning Department, Okefenokee Rural Electric Membership Corporation, Nassau County Code Enforcement, Nassau County Engineering Services, St. James Church, Sandhill Recycling, as well as Evergreen and Sandhill community members, Partners developed action plans to address these top three environmental health issues in Evergreen:

  1. Transportation Safety, Infrastructure, & Public Works: sidewalks, walkability, road maintenance, speeding, flooding and drainage issues, mosquito control
  2. Community Appearance: abandoned buildings, trash, noise, foul smells
  3. Parks and Recreation: developing Amos White Community Center, creating recreation areas for young and old community members (a trail, basketball court, playground, etc.)
The Florida Department of Health in Clay County and the Health Planning Council of Northeast Florida are collaborating on a community health assessment (CHA) process. We will analyze health data and conduct interviews with key stakeholders of Clay County. In addition, we will distribute a countywide survey and need your help! If you live or work in Clay County, please take a few minutes to complete the survey below. This will help us collect opinions about healthcare and quality of life in Clay County. Feel free to share this survey with family, friends, and colleagues who live or work in Clay County. Your feedback will help make Clay County a better place to live. Thank you for your participation! Take The Survey

The Health Planning Council of Northeast Florida publishes County Health Profiles annually for each county in our region, a region which represents 2,154,182 people, or approximately 10.3% of Florida’s total population, as of 2017. The profiles provide residents and community stakeholders with a snapshot of the health status of each county in comparison to the state of Florida. View County Health Profiles

Great American Smokeout
The Great American Smokeout is November 15. Read More From The American Cancer Society

Tobacco Cessation & Training
Northeast Florida AHEC in partnership with Tobacco Free Florida has made it a priority to provide tobacco cessation opportunities throughout the State, while training current and future healthcare professionals on how to assist tobacco-using patients. To find and sign up for a Cessation class, please click here: Cessation Class Calendar and Sign Up

What: Duval County Healthiest Weight Committee Meeting Humana
When: October 25, 2018, 1:00 pm
Where: 8935 Prominence Pkwy., Building 300, Suite 100, Jacksonville, FL 32256.

What: New Town Success Zone Partners Meeting
When: October 25, 2018, 3:00 pm
Where: 1401 Grunthal Street, Jacksonville, FL 32204

What: Healthy Families and Healthy Babies Subcommittee Meeting
When: October 24, 2018, 10:30 am
Where: St. Vincent's Spirituality Center, 1878 King Street, Jacksonville, FL 32204

What: 14th Annual Health and Human Service Summit
When: October 26, 2018, Work Shops: 8:30 am - 5:00 pm - Exhibition Hall: 10:45 am - 2:45 pm
Where: Ocean Center, 101 N. Atlantic Ave., Daytona Beach, FL
One Voice for Volusia, and Title Sponsor, Family Health Source and our community partners are proud to present the 14th Annual Health and Human Services Summit. Read More

Attention Assisters Who Are Helping Consumers Impacted By Hurricane Florence - Special Enrollment Period Available for Victims of September 2018 Hurricane Florence

On August 9, 2018, CMS released  guidance  clarifying the Federally-facilitated Exchange (FFE) Special Enrollment Period (SEP) policy for consumers impacted by an emergency or major disaster that is recognized with a formal declaration from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Consumers who qualified for an another enrollment period, such as a SEP or Open Enrollment Period (OEP), but were unable to complete a Marketplace application, plan selection, or enrollment process due to Hurricane Florence, may have access to an Exceptional Circumstances Special Enrollment Period (SEP). Individuals affected by Hurricane Florence have 60 days from the end of the FEMA-designated incident period to complete their 2018 enrollment and request a retroactive start date based on when he or she would have picked a plan if not for Hurricane Florence. Assisters can help affected consumers by contacting the Marketplace Call Center at
1-800-318-2596 or TTY at 1-855-889-4325 to request enrollment using this SEP.

Who is Eligible?
Consumers will be considered “impacted” and eligible for this SEP if they reside, or resided at the time of the hurricane, in any of the  counties declared  as meeting the level of “individual assistance” or “public assistance” by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Additionally, they are required to attest that they were affected by the emergency or disaster, and that it prevented them from completing enrollment.

What documentation is needed?
Marketplace SEP pre-enrollment verification requirements may be waived for consumers who are eligible for this SEP. Consumers must attest that they live or did live in the impacted area during the hurricane or severe weather event and were unable to complete enrollment within 60 days from the end of the FEMA-designated incident period. No further documentation is needed.

Steps to helping a consumer access this SEP:

  1. Help the consumer complete a 2018 Marketplace application online at The consumer may receive an Eligibility Determination Notice stating that he or she is not eligible to enroll in 2018 coverage because the open enrollment period for 2018 has ended.
  2. Next, help the consumer call the Marketplace call center (within 60 days from the end of the FEMA-designated incident period). Inform the consumer to let the call center representative know that he/she was impacted by Hurricane Florence and was unable to apply for 2018 coverage.
  3. The consumers SEP request will be forwarded to the Marketplace for review. Caseworkers will review an individual’s eligibility for the SEP using available information from Marketplace consumer records and public information on FEMA declarations.
  4. Once the Marketplace approves the enrollment extension SEP and set the appropriate effective date, the consumer will be alerted via letter. You can then help the consumer go back to and select a plan.

We hope this will be extended to Hurricane Michael. We will keep you posted.

  • For information about priorities identified in the Florida State Health Assessment, please click here: State Health Assessment

  • As a result of the State Health Assessment, the State Health Improvement Plan is created. To see the Florida State Health Improvement Plan (SHIP) for 2017-2021, please click here: SHIP

  • And for the Health Planning Council's part in our State’s initiatives, please see our website for more information: HPCNEF's Products and Services  
In June, designer Kate Spade’s and chef Anthony Bourdain’s suicides reminded us that suicide does not discriminate. It can impact anyone, and it is often unexpected.  Numerous factors  can put a person at risk, including family history of suicide, substance abuse, access to firearms, a history of trauma, chronic illness, prolonged stress and isolation. And not everyone who is suicidal has a known mental health condition. In fact,  54 percent of people  who died by suicide did not have a mental health diagnosis.  Read More

More than 2.6 million people in Florida lacked health insurance at some point in 2017, according to data released by the U.S. Census Bureau.  Read More

Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for more than 67 million Americans will increase 2.8 percent in 2019, the Social Security Administration announced today. Read More

The Florida Department of Health's Bureau of Epidemiology said in a report that the unidentified child tested positive for influenza B and died between Sept. 30 and Oct. 6. Read More

After two years of double-digit price hikes, the average premium for individual health coverage on the federal health law’s insurance marketplace will drop by 1.5 percent for 2019, the Trump administration said Thursday. Read More

People ages 65 and older and those with qualifying disabilities have until December 7  to choose between Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage which is sold by private insurers. Read More

The St. Johns River Rural Health Networks’ Newsletter.