Greatest health issues facing Tri-County area highlighted in new assessment

Feb 24, 2014

Area hospitals and other health organizations have a better idea of the biggest health issues impacting the region.

A collaborative effort between OSF Saint Francis Medical Center, UnityPoint Health Methodist-Proctor, and other health groups released a Tri-County Community Health-Needs Assessment.

The evaluation involves patient data and surveys collected from Peoria, Tazewell, and Woodford counties in 2012 and 2013. It found the area exceeds state averages in those who are obese, have diabetes, and who have reported mental health issues.

Michelle Carrothers of OSF HealthCare helped coordinate the effort. She says assessments are a requirement of the Affordable Care Act, and will also help hospitals better meet community needs.

“We basically are developing, through a strategic planning process, the specific processes to address needs and there are various opportunities that we feel we can make a difference in the community. Those works are in place and we’ll be going forward throughout this year.”

Other issues impacting the tri-county area include increased drug and alcohol use among teens and an increase in lung cancer cases. The health assessments are to be conducted every three years.