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Re: Is Blue Zone a Money Grab? [Village News Letter 7/19/18]


Last updated 8/4/2018 at 2:09pm

Fallbrook Regional Health District takes issue with the misleading characterization of the organization and its mission in the letter titled "Is Blue Zone a Money Grab?"

To begin, more than $1 million is invested annually into health services for the communities of Bonsall, De Luz, Fallbrook and Rainbow, serving roughly 75,000 clients and residents. These citizens benefit from high-quality, life-improving and even, life-saving health care services.

We offer these services in three ways: 1) Public-private partnerships; 2) Health program operations; and 3) Co-funding urgent and ambulatory care.

First, the Fallbrook Regional Health District invests about $900,000 into public-private partnerships providing crucial health services available at no cost. These service providers address top health concerns by offering cancer screenings, senior caregiver support and transportation, women’s health services, food pantry resources, walkable communities, healthy lifestyle classes, disabled persons therapy, behavioral health services, and a senior fall prevention program recognized by Supervisor Bill Horn’s office.

You can read more about those services here:

In addition to contractual health services, Fallbrook Regional Health District directly operates health programs including the Community Collaborative Health & Wellness Committee, Community Resources Directory, Healthcare Heroes, Woman of Wellness (WOW), Wellness Walks and North County Community Collaborative Health Initiative. All these programs collaborate directly with the public and the success of these efforts depend on a dedicated core of tireless volunteers working to improve our community.

The Fallbrook Regional Health District also co-funds critical care needs, including a new $200,000 ambulance with the North County Fire Protection District under a five-year lease agreement starting back in 2016. And the district has financed urgent care services over the last three years and during the recent June board meeting, the health district directors approved the extension of the A-Plus Urgent Care Extended Hours contract services for $10,000 a month until Dec. 31, 2018.

Presently, the district will operate a bricks-and-mortar facility at the recently purchased $1.8 million future Fallbrook Wellness Center, 1636 E. Mission Road, an 8,000-square-foot space envisioned to be an interactive indoor-outdoor classroom. The goal is to build healthy families through science-based approaches, including organic gardening and cooking classes. The community is invited to the groundbreaking ceremony on Sept. 5.

Integrated into the Fallbrook Wellness Center, the district ratified an update to its Vision statement at the Feb. 14, 2018, regular board meeting to become a “Blue Zones Project” community by 2022.

By creating a longevity hot spot, we are committed to working with residents and local organizations to pursue measurable improvements in nine variables of healthier living and a higher quality of life. As such, the District authorized $50,000 as an initial investment. Any further investments would require us to consider all financing options, including outside funding sources, to help maximize our local dollars.

A Blue Zone partnership shows value in lower medical costs for residents and regional economic growth. By partnering with Blue Zones, it is estimated that over the next 10 years, residents of the district would benefit by saving more than $50 million in total health care claims. Additionally, the greater Fallbrook area is expected to benefit from an additional $24 million in direct and indirect economic impacts over the next decade.

“Blue Zones” uses a predictive model to best determine the outcome of public health interventions for specific populations. The model was created in partnership with leading scientists of medicine, behavior, psychology, economics, epidemiology and mathematics from the World Economic Forum, Harvard University, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, and the Boston Consulting Group.

As these are predictive models, we cannot be absolutely assured of its impacts for our community and thus, have the option to end the program should we not see measurable and meaningful results. However, we believe that helping residents live healthier, longer lives is well within our mission and a goal worth investigating.

Our doors are open and we invite residents to attend our board meetings, community events and wellness walks. The next Town Hall discussion on Blue Zones will be at 5 p.m., Aug. 8, at the Fallbrook Utility District, 990 E. Mission Road. Get to know us and our work on our website,

Gordon Tinker


Fallbrook Regional Health District.


Reader Comments

Sbragia writes:

The operative word here is predictive. I have been in research for many years, and predictive is code for unknown and unproven. What has been proven is that the Blue Zones have taken millions of healthcare district dollars in many communities- without producing beneficial outcomes. The Board did not do proper due diligence or research lower cost alternatives to the Blue Zones prior to allocating funds. Based upon other communities experience the predictive outcome is a waste of money.


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