Community Health Needs Assessment: Solving Health Issues in Our District
In March, Columbus Community Hospital (CCH), along with the East Central District Health Department (ECDHD) and other agency partners, presented the results of the 2017 Comprehensive Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA).
The CHNA looks at the four counties in the East Central Health District: Boone, Colfax, Nance and Platte Counties. The goal of the assessment is to describe the health status of our population, identify areas for health improvement and determine factors that contribute to health issues.
The assessment was conducted in partnership with multiple agencies within the district using a process called Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnerships (MAPP).
The process consists of four different measurements.
One of these measurements is a survey that is sent directly to members of each community.
“This gives community members a voice. We can hear what they would like to happen in the community,” said Will McInnis, CEO of the ECDHD. “Health care leaders may have a perception of what we think the key issues are, but to have the community identify their needs allows us to refocus our efforts.”
In terms of improvement, five priority issues were identified for Platte County:
• Access to health care
• Family support
• Substance abuse
• Mental health
These are the same five priority issues that were identified in the previous CHNA, which was released in 2015.
“A lot of these areas have underlying factors that we are working on,” said Caitlin Schneider, chief public health officer at the ECDHD. “They are large scale issues, but we have seen progress over the past three years.”
Strides have been made since the release of the previous CHNA and, in terms of access to health care, several initiatives have been instituted.
CCH has added an after-hours nurse triage line, healthy cooking classes and TeleHealth services for psychiatry, endocrinology and pulmonary care. CCH has also continued to recruit specialized physicians to our community and added a free online health library to the website. Several programs have also been added to address family support, substance abuse, mental health and obesity.
“The CHNA was one of the catalysts for the Wellness Center,” said Mike Hansen, CCH president and CEO. “We knew we had wellness issues and needed to come up with some brick and mortar to address those issues. The Wellness Center has really helped us to develop a population health approach to wellness.”
Over the next three years, CCH will continue to work with the ECDHD and other health and business-related agencies to address these issues through the Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP).
Through CHIP, coalitions of passionate community members will work to create new programs to fill gaps currently identified in our area.
“This time, drug and alcohol abuse is on the top of the list,” said Hansen. “The 2017 CHNA identified that as a top priority, so that is something we will work very hard to decrease.”
The coalitions meet throughout the year to address different issues and implement plans to improve the community as a whole.
If you would like to join one of the coalitions, contact the ECDHD at 402-563-9656.