Mental health, substance abuse, and a lack of insurance or ability to pay are the top community health priorities for the lake area, according to the 2018 Community Health Needs Assessment produced by Lake Regional Health System and collaborating community partners.
The assessment is completed every three years and covers Camden, Miller and Morgan counties. It presents information on socioeconomic conditions, community safety risks, leading causes of death, rates of overweight and obesity, substance abuse, pregnancy, sexual health, chronic disease and other health issues.
“The goal of this assessment is to take a comprehensive look at factors affecting the health of our community so we can better meet local health needs,” said Tom Williams, vice president of Employee and Community Development at Lake Regional. “It will serve as the basis for prioritizing the community’s health needs and as a planning resource for meeting those needs.”
To gather the health data for the report, Lake Regional invited residents of Camden, Miller and Morgan counties to take a health needs survey, which garnered responses from 802 individuals. Lake Regional also participated in five community focus groups to hear from community members involved in public health and serving underserved populations. These focus groups were held in Camdenton, Eldon, Laurie, Osage Beach and Versailles. Participants identified problems, resources, barriers and solutions related to health care in the lake area.
“We thank everyone who completed a survey or participated in a focus group,” Williams said. “Hearing from all of these stakeholders was critical for determining what our community health priorities should be.”
In addition to gathering information from primary sources, Lake Regional used secondary sources to compile demographic, socioeconomic and health data for each of the three included counties.
Lake Regional’s Community Benefit Committee met in July and August 2018 to review the data collected. The committee included Lake Regional employees and representatives from Camden County Health Department, Camdenton School District, Central Ozarks Medical Center, Miller County Health Department, Morgan County Health Department and Medical Missions for Christ. Common themes were identified, scored and weighted to reveal the top community health priorities. Leading the list were mental health, substance abuse, and a lack of insurance or ability to pay.
Throughout the next three years, Lake Regional will align community outreach activities to address these issues while partnering with community organizations, including public health agencies and local schools.
The report is available online at www.lakeregional.com/reports.
Lake Regional Health System provides comprehensive health care services to residents and visitors throughout the mid-Missouri region. The hospital is a Level II Stroke Center, Level II STEMI (heart attack) Center and Level III Trauma Center. Lake Regional also provides a wide range of specialties, including cancer care, heart care, orthopedics and women’s health. Plus, Lake Regional operates primary care clinics, Express Care clinics, rehab therapy clinics, programs for home health and hospice, and retail pharmacies.