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CEO: Community Health Needs Initial Assessment

April 24, 2024

(Published as a Letter to the Editor in The Carrollton Democrat)

By Scott Thoreson, Carroll County Memorial Hospital Chief Executive Officer and Jennifer Link, Carroll County Health Department Administrator

The focus group portion of the Community Health Needs Assessment was recently completed with approximately 20 area individuals taking part, representing many different community agencies and organizations. The Community Health Needs Assessment is a required function for the country’s not-for-profit hospitals, as well as for public health departments. Hospitals are required to complete this assessment every three years, while it is recommended public health departments do it at least every five years. For this cycle, Carroll County Memorial Hospital (CCMH) and Carroll County Health Department (CCHD) have joined forces and are receiving support from the Missouri Hospital Association (MHA) to complete the assessment and related support services for the next three years. This joint action is the first of its kind for MHA and they hope it will become a model for other counties to use in the future.

The MHA representative shared findings of primary data (the survey completed by 335 people in our community) as well as secondary data that is widely available and fairly recent. In reviewing health factors, we learned that Carroll County is positioned above the national average and just below the state average in assessing health factors, which determine the least healthy compared to the healthiest counties in the United States. When considering health outcomes, Carroll County measured above the national average and the Missouri state average.

The primary data from the 335 surveys shared that about 47 percent thought community health was getting better, 30 percent felt it was staying about the same, and about 10 percent believed it was getting worse. Survey respondents also felt the most pressing health issues to address included mental health, as well as the needs of the uninsured and underinsured and substance abuse.

A summary of secondary data found that chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer were the most prevalent amongst area residents. Obesity, mental health and substance abuse were identified as common conditions and worthy of more attention. Factors such as being uninsured or on Medicaid were other commonalities of residents who had more health issues.

After reviewing the primary and secondary data, the focus group members then discussed and prioritized what made sense for Carroll County to be working on and the items below were generated in order of importance:

  1. Social Determinants of Health (Transportation, Poverty, Access to Care, etc.)
  2. Mental Health and Substance Use
  3. Chronic Health Conditions and Obesity

These topics identified above will be the main drivers that will be pursued by CCMH and CCHD over the next three years. We will strive to keep the community informed about tactics that will be used to address these issues and identify metrics to be able to judge our progress. Thank you to all who participated in completing the primary data survey that provided the much-needed local information for our consideration.

More in this Series:

CEO: Cybersecurity (Published February 14, 2024)

CEO: End of Year Reflections (Published December 29, 2023)

CEO: Coding Matters (Published November 22, 2023)

CEO: Maternity Care Desert (Published October 25, 2023)

CEO: Rural Emergency Hospitals (Published September 20, 2023)

CEO: Primary Care Provider (Published August 23, 2023)

CEO: Supply Shortages (Published June 28, 2023)

CEO: CCMH Named Top 20 Critical Access Hospital (Published June 14, 2023)

CEO: Hospital Week 2023 (Published May 3, 2023)

CEO: Prior Authorizations (Published April 5, 2023)

CEO: Staff Shortage and Open Positions (Published February 8, 2023)

CEO: End of Year 2022 (Published December 14, 2022)

CEO: Purpose of the Foundation (Published November 10, 2022)

CEO: Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (Published September 28, 2022)

CEO: CCMH Providers (Published August 24, 2022)

CEO: Financial Assistance (Published July 20, 2022)

CEO: Social Determinants of Health (Published June 29, 2022)

CEO: National Hospital Week (Published May 11, 2022)

CEO: Why Healthcare is Expensive (Published May 4, 2022)

CEO: A Hospital is Still a Business (Published March 16, 2022)

CEO: Different Types of Hospital Ownership (Published February 1, 2022)

CEO: Holiday Message (Published December 20, 2021)