A major role of county government is addressing and improving the health of county citizens. Improving health lowers the cost of medical care, avoids long-term medical care, increases longevity, and contributes to the general well-being of life in the county.
I continue to support the efforts made by Olmsted County to create and implement an effective Community Health Improvement Plan.
The top five Community Health Priorities are identified using a very extensive community engagement process which involves three steps:
- Step One. Creation of the Community Health Needs Assessment Plan (CHAP): This is a process that is done every three years. (The last one was done in 2016) The process includes gathering information from many community members and groups, advisory groups, Olmsted County Public Health Services, Olmsted Medical Center, and Mayo Clinic Rochester.
- Step Two. A Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) is completed using the information gathered in the Community Health Needs Assessment Plan. In this step the needs are prioritized and the most pressing issues facing the health of Olmsted County are determined.
- Step Three. A Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) is developed to address the health priorities identified.
Olmsted County’s Top Five Community Health Priorities identified in the 2016 plan are:
- Injury Prevention (this includes seatbelt use and distracted driving)
- Immunizations (44% of Olmsted County residents are not vaccinated against influenza)
- Overweight/Obesity (41% of Olmsted County residents are overweight)
- Mental Health (16% of Olmsted County residences have been diagnosed with depression)
- Financial Stress (21% of homeowners and 46% of renters are paying over 30% of their income for housing)
The county has established workgroups to address each of these and develop strategies that will lead to better health outcomes for individuals and for the County.