What Is The Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA)?

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Did you know that good health is more than not being sick or getting routine medical care?

For many people in our community, good health is influenced by personal behaviors, the clinical care we receive, social and economic factors, and where we live. Other factors, called social determinants of health, can also impact our health. These include education, the safety of our neighborhoods, air quality, housing conditions, poverty, and employment.

Locally, the Frederick County Health Care Coalition works to identify these health factors and provide critical information to those in positions to take positive steps to impact the health of residents. A core responsibility of the Coalition is the Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA).

The CHNA is a periodic assessment that informs and engages the community in health improvement initiatives. The CHNA is repeated every three years to reflect changing local conditions. It answers these questions:

  • What are the major causes of illness, injury, and death in the community?
  • What health issues and behaviors are most concerning to local citizens and community organizations serving Frederick County?
  • What barriers and resources exist for residents to achieve better health?

This year’s report was sponsored by the Frederick County Health Department and Frederick Regional Health System. From the report, three health improvement priorities were identified:

  • Adverse Childhood Experiences & Infant Health
  • Behavioral Health
  • Chronic Conditions

The Coalition then formed three community participant workgroups charged with developing action steps to address each priority within Frederick County. Over the next three years, the Coalition will evaluate the goals, strategies, and progress of each workgroup and report back to the community periodically.

Here’s just a snapshot of some of the findings in this year’s report.

  • 5% of Frederick County residents have a disability (<65 years old)
  • 5% don’t have health insurance (<65 years old)
  • 9% are in poverty
  • Housing and transportation were overwhelming concerns and barriers to good health for residents.
  • Based on focus groups, the following groups identified these as their greatest health service needs and obstacles:
    • Low Income/Homeless Residents
      • Mental health
      • Dental care
      • Pain management
      • Complex eligibility process for services
      • Illiteracy
      • Insurance acceptance and local network inadequacy
    • African-American Residents
      • Dental care
      • Relatable mental health providers
      • Health education and training in self-advocacy
      • Cultural values—delayed care, avoidance of care
      • Service awareness and insurance coverage
    • North County Residents
      • Adequate providers
      • Affordable activity and nutrition options
      • Access to medical supplies
      • No gym, sidewalks, or safe walking paths
      • No fresh produce at local markets
    • Hispanic Residents
      • Vision
      • Dental care
      • Care for the elderly
      • Translation services
      • Cost of care
      • Affordable transportation
      • Insurance acceptance
    • High blood pressure is a common and dangerous condition in Frederick County. In 2016 alone, 52,578 adults (or 27.2% of the population) had hypertension.
    • 21,456 adults reported 8-30 days their mental health wasn’t good in the last 30 days—or 11.1% of adults.
    • Diet and body weight are concerning in Frederick County. 1,232 high school students or 9.6% were affected by obesity and 51,611 adults or 26.7% in 2016.

Want to learn more about the Frederick County Community Health Needs Assessment? Check out the full 2019 report.

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