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Health status data shows need for community approach

04/19/2013

GREENCASTLE, Pa.–  Summit Health, in cooperation with Penn State Institute of State and Regional Affairs, announced the results of the 2012 Community Health Needs Assessment of Franklin County and Shippensburg Thursday in Greencastle.

Four health priorities were announced: nutrition, mental health, access to healthcare, and education. The priorities will guide community organizations in planning programs and prioritizing funding.

By the numbers
Data collected from 861 community members from August to October of 2012 showed that 11.8% of Franklin County and Shippensburg residents report having no health insurance.  This is an increase from the 7.4% reported in the 2008 community health needs assessment.

The number of children reported to have no health insurance has also increased from 7.1% in 2008 to 13.4% in 2012.

The data also showed the 79.9% of adults in Franklin County and Shippensburg are not eating the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables each day. The percentage of physically inactive adults is reported to be 25.6% in our community, which is higher than the numbers reported in Pennsylvania and in the US.

The statistics show that 18.2% of children grades K through 6 were in the obese category, which is higher than the state data at 16.8%.  This is mirrored in the grades 7 – 12 category with Franklin County and Shippensburg coming in at 20% in the obese category and the state data showing 18.2%.

The 2012 Community Health Needs Assessment also showed some significant information in the categories of mental health and education.

59.3% of residents reported their stress levels as being moderate, high, or very high on a typical day.  Franklin County and Shippensburg’s suicide death rate per 100,000 people was higher than the state and U.S. figures.

In the area of education, Franklin County and Shippensburg area reported that 16.23% of residents do not have a high school diploma.  This is higher than the state percentage at 12.59% and the U.S. percentage at 14.97%.

Coming together to help
Barbara Constable, Vice President of Community Relations for Summit Health said that the data collected plays a vital role in meeting the health needs of our community.

“It shows that our entire community needs to partner and work on improving things, not just one sector,” she said. “This information was used by our community advisory group to determine where we, as a community, need to focus our efforts to provide the most benefit. It helps us determine needs, target resources and bring community leaders together to tackle issues.”

Carrie Gray, Director of Grants and Operations Management for the Franklin County Commissioners, is a member of the community advisory group. Gray said that, as a community, we are at a critical juncture.

“We have this information, we’ve developed our priorities, and now it’s imperative that we reach out and engage our neighbors,” she said. “We need to engage the ‘do’ers’, the people with the passion and determination to get things moving forward. We need to help each other.”

Summit Health President and CEO Norm Epstein illustrated how Summit Health used the data collected in 2008 to help meet community need.

“Since the data was collected in 2008, we have accomplished some things – a new endocrinology practice and weight management practice, a walk-in care center to provide more access to care, and community health programs geared at helping families eat healthier,” Epstein said. “But, we haven’t accomplished enough.”

“We are all responsible for the population’s health,” Epstein told the audience. “All individuals must work together to improve the health and well being of a community.”

Constable noted that Summit Health and the community advisory group are currently working on plans to help address the gaps and opportunities identified by the assessment.

“This is a process,” Constable explained. “We are planning, and we will implement programs, but we will continue evaluating and changing so we can best meet the needs of the community.”

Key findings are now available at SummitHealth.org, and a full report will be available on the health system website in June.

END

Summit Health, a non-profit organization, is dedicated to building a healthier community through leading-edge medical technology, skilled physicians, caring staff, and convenient locations.  Summit Health’s comprehensive selection of services and providers includes family physicians, surgeons, specialists, diagnostic services, a women’s health center, a fitness center, two walk-in care centers, and two award-winning hospitals. For more information about Summit Health, call (717) 267-7136 or visit www.SummitHealth.org. 

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