After hearing the results of the recent Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) in Marion and five more area counties, each of the people attending a town hall meeting Thursday at the Quality Inn in Hannibal voted on the four things they believe need the most improvement.
Mental health - defined as access to behavioral care, awareness of services and funding - received 45 votes, far ahead of the next. This was fitness and nutrition programs to combat obesity, with 18 votes.
Tied for third and fourth place were dental care and disease management (coordination of care), with 16 votes each.
Next came alcohol and drug problems, separated into two categories: alcohol, with 11 votes; and teen substance abuse with 10.
Public transportation received nine votes, and communication with health care providers (internet), had eight votes.
Also listed as needing improvement were geriatrics, screening and wellness fairs, activities for seniors, youth activities, children's poverty, more pulmonary care, more nephrology for kidney disease, consumer responsibility for health, better triage in the emergency room, radon testing and availability of more nutritious foods.
Before the vote was taken, the people at each table compiled a list of health care strengths and a list of things that need improvement.
Among the strengths listed were county health departments, access to health services, food pantries, ambulance service, Hannibal's smoke free ordinance, good hospital leadership, the cancer center, the free clinic in Marion County, orthopedic services, low teen pregnancy rates, home health and hospice care, exceptional physicians, and number of beds in hospitals and nursing homes.
All the items were read and recorded by an assistant of Vince Vandehaar, MBA, consultant and adjunct marketing professor with VVV Marketing & Development Inc. of Olathe, Kan. Vandehaar's company did the CHNA survey and supplied the results to the people attending Thursday's meeting. A total of 794 people completed the survey, he reported.
Vandehaar showed how the six counties in the survey rated with the average in rural Missouri and also statewide, such as causes of death, need for more services and Medicare patients' care.
Among the items showing the best service were ambulance service, pharmacies and public health departments.
Details about the survey may be obtained from Julie Leverenz, vice president of strategy and planning at Hannibal Regional Healthcare system and CHNA project coordinator, at Julie.email@example.com.
The committee will continue to work with Vandehaar to study the results of the town hall meeting and to develop a three-year strategy to address the top health challenges.
Many people attending were on the regional steering committee that did the survey. Members are Dr. Pranav Parikh, vice president - quality and medical affairs, Hannibal Regional Hospital; Judy Prater, director of nursing - Pike County Memorial Hospital; Lynn Olson, president - Hannibal Regional Hospital; Jean McBride, administrator - Marion County Health Department; Tanya Taylor, administrator - Ralls County Health Department; Audrey Gough, administrator - Shelby County Health Department; Diane Lay, administrator - Lewis County Health Department; Justin Selle, administrator - Pike County Health Department; Paula Delaney, administrator - Monroe County Health Department; Rhonda Stumbaugh, community health coordinator - Pike County Health Department; Lou Lemen, executive director - United Way of the Mark Twain Area; Tim Polley, executive director - Hannibal Regional Medical Group; Ginny Webb, marketing director - Hannibal Clinic; Renee Hendrickson, representative - Healthcare USA; Stephanie Thomeczek, executive director - Families and Communities Together (FACT); Betty Anderson, volunteer - Hannibal Free Clinic; Dr. Wendy Harrington, president - Hannibal Regional Hospital Foundation; Julie Leverenz, Jean Kane, Jim Huhn, Paul McVicker – Hannibal Regional Hospital Project Coordinators and Support Team.
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