Northwest Community Healthcare (NCH), which has a longstanding tradition of reaching out to the medically underserved in Chicago’s northwest suburbs, will focus on five priority health issues identified through a recently completed Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA).
The CHNA identifies and addresses key health issues in the community while taking into account NCH’s resources, mission, goals and strategic priorities. While the assessment and implementation plan are new mandates under the Affordable Care Act, NCH has been identifying and addressing unmet community needs for more than a decade.
After considering the top health priorities identified in the assessment, NCH determined it would focus efforts on developing and supporting strategies and initiatives to improve the following areas:
Access to primary healthcare services
Access to oral healthcare services
Access to mental health and youth substance abuse healthcare services
Obesity and diabetes
With 10.2 percent of NCH’s service area lacking health insurance, NCH will work to provide affordable primary healthcare resources, oral healthcare services and behavioral health resources for the community. The CHNA found that 56 percent of residents in NCH’s service area are overweight and 26 percent are obese. As a result, NCH will focus on preventing obesity through the promotion of breastfeeding, increasing access to healthy food and increasing opportunities for physical activity.
The CHNA, which is now available online at www.nch.org/community-services, includes NCH’s implementation strategies to address the health issues. NCH encourages and welcomes feedback on the CHNA and the implementation plan. The CHNA, conducted by healthcare consulting firm Professional Research Consultants Inc., is a follow-up to a 2009 study to determine the health status, behaviors and needs of residents in NCH’s service area.
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