Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Public Health Releases Community Health Report

Grinnell Regional Public Health and the Poweshiek County Board of Health completed the Community Health Needs Assessment and Health Improvement Plan based on the current health issues facing residents. The assessment was designed to identify changes in health status and barriers to care for Poweshiek County residents.

“Key findings of the report will help establish priorities, develop interventions, and commit resources to improve the health of our residents,” says Patty Hinrichs, RN, Grinnell Regional Public Health director. “This work will encourage collaboration with multiple agencies in the county and region to address the changing needs of residents in the county.”

The most significant barriers to healthcare, according to the Community Health Needs Assessment 2010 survey, were: Can’t pay for services/medications - 28.4 percent; lack of evening and weekend services - 26.3 percent; and long waiting times for services 23.3 percent.

A portion of this study identifies the leading causes of death in the county. Coronary Heart Disease lead the list with 295 per 100,000 (U.S. rate 154 per 100,000). Second leading cause of death is Strokes with 124 deaths per 100,000 residents (U.S. rate 47 per 100,000). Followed by breast cancer with 49 per 100,000 (U.S. rate 24 per 100,000), and colon cancer with 48 per 100,000 (U.S. rate 17 per 100,000).

In 2010, a county-wide Community Health Needs Assessment survey was distributed and completed by 330 residents. Results from this survey and a health survey sent to health and community resource stakeholders identified areas for improved health in the community. The task force prioritized four areas to be targeted in the five-year public health plan for Poweshiek County.

  • Promote healthy behaviors – improve access to healthcare system and referrals by making available resource information and financial assistance to become and stay healthy.
  • Improve access to healthcare in Poweshiek County. Area medical providers identified the lack of mental health services in the county as a priority for health.
  • Prevent spread of communicable disease, in particular sexually transmitted diseases, with programs to diagnosis and treat at low cost or no cost to reduce barriers of care and treatment.
  • Prepare, respond and recover from public health emergencies, especially at-risk residents who would need to be evacuated in a public health emergency. Poweshiek County will have a list of special needs residents with contact information in case the county has a public health emergency.

“Improving access to healthcare in Poweshiek County is a huge goal and will require collaboration with many volunteer groups, human service agencies, and health providers,” Hinrichs explains. “Everyone in the county could have a role in helping achieve this enormous goal. This is a major undertaking for a one-person public health office to coordinate. I believe residents in this county value health and wellbeing and will help their friends and neighbors as we move into a new era with changes in funding for healthcare.”

A complete summary of Poweshiek County Health is available to residents, and especially county human services providers, at and look under the health and wellness tab.

Snapshot of Poweshiek County
Population 18,914 (2010)
94.9% whites; 2.7% other races; 2.4% Hispanic or Latino
10.8% of population living below poverty level (2008 data)
13% of children live below poverty level (2010)
10% of adult population uninsured (2008)
24% of households are a single parent (2010)
21% of adult population smokes (2010)
29% of adult population is obese (2010)
24 Motor Vehicle Deaths per 100,000 population; 1.6 times higher than the state ave. (2010)
90% of adults achieve high school graduation (2010)
18% of adults achieve college degree (2009)

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