Local Health Partners Release Findings from the 2012 Quad Cities Community Health Assessment PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Nicole Carkner   
Friday, 23 March 2012 12:29

The Quad City Health Initiative, Genesis Health System, Trinity Regional Health System, Community Health Care, Inc., Rock Island County Health Department and Scott County Health Department, are pleased to share their findings from the 2012 Quad Cities Community Health Assessment.  The assessment and associated documents are available for viewing and download at www.quadcities.healthforecast.net and on the websites of the study sponsors.

Over a year in the making, this Community Health Assessment is a systematic, data-driven approach to determining the health status, behaviors and needs of residents in the Quad Cities Area.  The study is a follow-up to similar studies conducted in 2002 and 2007.  The 2012 study, however, is innovative for its alignment of methodology between the local health providers and public health systems.

The 2012 Community Health Assessment included a telephone survey of over 900 individuals in Scott and Rock Island counties, extensive secondary data analysis and the gathering of input and priorities from local community leaders.  With funding provided by Genesis Health System and Trinity Regional Health System, the partners hired Professional Research Consultants of Omaha, NE to conduct a survey, analyze data and provide a comprehensive report.  Additional secondary data analysis, stakeholder meetings and issue prioritization were administered by staff at the Rock Island and Scott County Health Departments with input from Community Health Care.  Quad City Health Initiative staff facilitated the assessment work across the partnering organizations.

The integrated process met the assessment reporting requirements of the Scott County and Rock Island County Health Departments as well as the new assessment requirements for Genesis Health System and Trinity Regional Health System as established by the Affordable Care Act.   The assessment was designed to have wide benchmarking potential at the state and national levels, as well as to Healthy People 2020 targets.

"As members of the Quad City Health Initiative, our health organizations have a long history of partnering together.  This year, we were able to leverage the ongoing planning processes of the health departments and wrap around them a comprehensive community survey and secondary data collection.  This made our assessment process more aligned, more efficient and more respectful of community stakeholders' time," says Nicole Carkner, Executive Director of the Quad City Health Initiative.

"We are one of the first communities in our region to successfully integrate health system and public health assessment processes," says Wendy Trute, Administrator for the Rock Island County Health Department.  "The comprehensive assessment provides data for the entire Quad Cities region that can be used by our community partners to improve the health of all Quad Citians."

"Our process has already been cited nationally and we are pleased to be a leading example for this work, " continues Ed Rivers, Director for the Scott County Health Department.

The 2012 Quad Cities Community Health Assessment identified some improvements in community health status since the prior assessments.  Notably, a higher percentage of adults and children have visited a dentist or dental clinic in the past year and fewer adults now smoke.  In addition, the Quad Cities also fares better than the national average on selected indicators such as the percentage of adults who have health care insurance, low-weight births, and overall community perceptions like being a good place to raise a family.

The findings of this study will be used to inform decisions and guide future efforts to improve health status and quality of life in our area.  Issues identified in prior studies, such as the percentage of adults who have one or more risk factors for cardiovascular disease, continue to be a concern.  "These findings renew the importance of addressing and promoting healthy behaviors such as healthy eating and active living," says Dr. Jim Lehman, Vice President of Quality, Genesis Health System.  "Although the Quad City Health Initiative has been responding to many of these challenges, we welcome this opportunity to educate the entire community on the importance of creating a culture that supports health and wellness."

One of the overarching themes of the assessment is that lower-income residents in the Quad Cities experience notably poorer health status including physical and mental health.  "We understand that lower-income residents tend to have a higher prevalence of chronic disease but greater difficulty accessing healthcare," says Tom Bowman, CEO of Community Health Care, Inc.  "It is very important for our community to understand how societal issues such as income and education levels translate to health status."

Qualitative input from community stakeholders also identified behavioral health and access to mental health care as a continuing priority for the Quad Cities; this issue was identified in the 2007 assessment and launched several community coalitions in response.  "Our community is at the forefront of understanding the importance of integrated health care," says Berlinda Tyler-Jamison, Vice President of Community Impact & Advocacy, Trinity Regional Health System.  "Behavioral health and physical health are linked and the more we study, the more we understand that we need to have a holistic approach to creating health for people and for our community."

Questions on the 2012 Community Health Assessment may be directed to the Quad City Health Initiative which will be working with the study sponsors to improve health status and quality of life through ongoing projects and community assessments.  Website:  www.qchealthinitiative.org.

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