The report highlights the Tri-Valley’s top health care needs | News

As the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic continues, maintaining good health remains a top priority for many, including physically, mentally, emotionally and even financially.

The demand for adequate, affordable health care in the Tri-Valley is growing, and local health care providers like John Muir Health recently shared ways they are addressing community needs.

John Muir’s 2022 Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) highlights the Tri-Valley’s highest priority health needs, and their subsequent implementation strategy identifies plans to address them.

The 212-page CHNA — originally released in December — was a collaborative effort between several local and regional health care providers, including John Muir and Stanford Health Care Tri-Valley, as well as Sutter Health, St. Rose Hospital and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals. Kaiser Permanente, the Alameda County Department of Public Health and Contra Costa Health Services were also involved partners.

Behavioral health, structural racism, economic security, housing and homelessness, health care access and delivery, community and family safety, food security and transportation were identified as the Tri-Valley’s top eight priority health needs.

Behavioral health was No. 1 on the list across the board for all of John Muir’s service areas, including the Tri-Valley along with east Contra Costa County, central Contra Costa County, west Contra Costa County and north Alameda County.

The report is made every three years, as required by the state for nonprofit hospitals. As part of the requirement, the CHNA must include input from public health experts, local health departments, and the community, including representatives of minority, low-income, underserved, and other high-need groups.

According to Jamie Elmasu, director of community health improvement for John Muir, once priority areas are identified—through a process that includes collecting and analyzing various health data sets and engaging in community focus groups—each health system feeds the information back. to their respective internal stakeholders to understand a strategy to address these needs over the next three years.

John Muir Health has developed a 2023-2025 Public Health Implementation Strategy that details their approach to addressing the needs of the communities they serve.

With behavioral health being the top need across the region, Elmasu said it was clearly a key area of ​​focus for the health system. According to CHNA, behavioral health refers to mental health, emotional and psychological well-being, along with the ability to cope with normal daily life. Behavioral health also encompasses substance abuse, which affects many other aspects of a person’s overall health.

While none of the region’s primary health needs are new problems, Elmasou reiterated that they have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and affect a wider range of people than was typically seen in the years before the pandemic.

Citing behavioral health as an example, Elmasu said, “We’re seeing it everywhere, so not just uninsured and low-income people that we typically serve; people and even young people are already insured. We know the issues with our young people – – and our teenagers in particular – have become so severe, and understanding how we can better serve our young community through our community benefit opportunities is critical.”

Other health system focus areas for this cycle include access to health care and housing and homelessness, which are also issues that have shed new light on them as a result of COVID-19, especially as it relates to access to vaccines.

The John Muir Mobile Clinic is one of their offerings that has played a significant role in providing the vaccines to the community. “Our mobile health clinic and our nurses were actually some of the first to be trained to administer vaccines and to test for COVID,” Elmasu said, adding that they are proud of their ability to serve the community at such a critical time.

In addition to structural racism in general recognized as a significant health need in the report, CHNA identified racial disparities in other categories, with African American and Latino communities affected by several of the various health needs at higher rates than other demographic groups. As a result of these findings, John Moore is also taking a closer look at how to improve the problem.

Part of their implementation strategy includes investing additional funding dollars for all of their nonprofit partners to provide workshops and educational sessions, and these organizations are tasked with creating an intervention to address structural racism internally such as employment practices, human rights policies, resources, involvement of the board of directors and other aspects of the organization.

“It’s very innovative and it’s very new as it relates to how our public health team partners with our nonprofits,” Elmasu said.

Achieving community improvement goals is a process that takes time and does not come without challenges. While their strategy aims to make an impact, there is no quick fix to the health issues affecting the Tri-Valley and beyond.

“The single most pressing barrier in my experience is the fact that we’re trying to solve societal problems in general,” Elmasu said. “We are only a few people. We have a limited budget, so we have our internal limitations, and of course we are limited in terms of the non-profit partners that exist in the area.”

She continued, “When we look at Contra Costa County versus Alameda County, Alameda County has a more robust network of nonprofits providing services to the community, but Contra Costa County is growing, so our nonprofits, many of which started in central District in Concord now have secondary or satellite offices in Antioch or the Eastern District.”

Elmasu said that while there is no magic dollar amount that will solve the problems overnight, she strongly believes that through their efforts and those of other health systems in the area, they can significantly impact a number of individuals and families and change the health your trajectory.

One of their newest partners this year is Livermore-based Goodness Village. John Muir is providing the nonprofit tiny home community with funding to support a full-time case manager for the next three years as the organization also plans to expand with additional housing units.

Elmasu also emphasized that once John Muir fully acquires San Ramon Regional Medical Center, they will be able to better serve the Tri-Valley region as a whole.

“We’re already doing some things, but we’re not doing a huge amount in the Tri-Valley — the reason is that our hospitals are currently located in Concord and Walnut Creek, and so our main area of ​​focus will be around those hospitals. But we have an outpatient center in Pleasanton, and now, of course, if we’re expanding to buy another hospital, I think the question is what does that mean to make those services more robust,” she said.

John Muir’s CHNA and implementation strategy are available to the public on their website.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *