Results of an extensive assessment of community health needs shows the biggest challenges facing communities in the Western Region of OSF HealthCare are similar to those facing many rural communities across the country. With a continued focus on these health priorities, OSF HealthCare, in partnership with community collaborators, will continue the momentum toward piloting efforts while promoting initiatives that have already achieved results in each of these areas.
A review of data and interviews with leaders from Madison, Henry, Warren and Knox Counties confirmed priority areas of concern:
- Behavioral Health (defined as depression, anxiety, and suicide as well as substance use defined as abuse of illegal and legal drugs, alcohol, and tobacco/vaping use)
- Healthy Behaviors (defined as active living and healthy eating and their impact on obesity, access to food, and food insecurity)
Western Region CEO Roxanna Crosser, who is also interim president for OSF HealthCare St. Mary Medical Center in Galesburg said, “These results have already driven strategic efforts with great collaboration among all of our community partners.” For example, OSF Innovation has offered OSF Silver Cloud, a smart phone-online resource that provides free, 24/7 access to evidence-based programs to relieve symptoms of stress, depression and anxiety. It’s backed by navigators who can provide referrals when necessary.
Crosser added, “We have seen some promising engagement by individuals who are ready to make significant changes and with additional real-time data and access to information about best practices across the country, we’ll be able to deploy evidence-based approaches.”
Community health needs assessments are required of tax-exempt hospitals as a result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Conducted every three years through community surveys, the assessment evaluates the overall health of Henry County and creates an important opportunity to improve the health of the community.
There were 432 surveys collected in 2019, including from community members most at-risk due to limited financial means. OSF HealthCare Saint Luke Medical Center has developed a three-year implementation plan for Henry County to improve health and well-being by empowering people with information, knowledge, and accessibility.
“We know we can do better by leveraging the strengths and resources of all of our community partners and by collectively mapping resources for the highest and best use, said Jackie Kernan, president of OSF Saint Luke Medical Center. “We are serious about finding innovative solutions to problems impacting our community. We know when the health of our residents improves, the entire community benefits.”
“We believe using a wider lens to focus on what’s contributing to individual behavior plus analyzing other social risks that can be addressed community-wide will go a long way in preventing health issues, added Mark Rewerts, senior vice president at State Bank of Toulon and OSF Saint Luke Medical Center Community Advisory Board Chair. “I’m convinced using additional technology, coupled with one-on-one outreach and targeted programs, we can solve these challenges many communities face but which seem to hit hardest in rural areas.”
Here are notable organizations who are part of our collaborative efforts:
- YMCA of Kewanee
- Housing Authority of Henry County
- Kewanee School District
- Wethersfield School District
- Abilities Plus / Henry County Public Transportation
- Henry County Mental Health Alliance
- University of Illinois Extension
- Henry County Health Department
Since its last Community Health Needs Assessment in 2016, OSF HealthCare has seen system-wide improvement in three key areas: access to medical care, behavioral health and obesity. For more information on the 2019 Community Health Needs Assessment, or for an electronic copy, visit https://www.osfhealthcare.org/about/community-health/.