Health Care Leaders in Northeast Florida Join Forces to Improve Care 

 

Access, affordable care, a lack of knowledge about services and dozens of other factors contribute to a wide range of health care needs among communities in Northeast Florida. That is the conclusion of a newly released study commissioned by a group of local health care organizations and health departments.

The Jacksonville Metropolitan Community Benefit Partnership (the Partnership) commissioned the Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) study in 2015 to identify critical areas of health needs for communities across the region. The group’s vision is to improve population health in the region by addressing gaps that prevent access to quality, integrated health care and improving access to resources that support a healthy lifestyle.

“As not-for-profit organizations, we all share a common commitment to improving health beyond our own walls,” said A. Hugh Greene, President and CEO of Baptist Health. “By coming together to identify gaps and prioritizing areas of greatest need, we will make a real difference in improving the health of our community’s most vulnerable citizens.”

This was the second CHNA study conducted since the formation of the Jacksonville Metropolitan Community Benefit Partnership in July 2011 by leaders from Baptist Health, Brooks Rehabilitation, the Clay County Health Department, the Duval County Health Department, Mayo Clinic, the Nassau County Health Department, the Putnam County Health Department, UF Health Jacksonville (then Shands Jacksonville Medical Center), St. Vincent’s HealthCare, and Wolfson Children’s Hospital. These not-for-profit health care organizations came together to conduct the first-ever multihospital system and public health sector collaborative community health needs assessment, and to identify priority health needs within each community served by each hospital.

“Health needs assessments continue to play a vital role in finding the best solutions for the residents of our community, and we are proud to be a part of this project,” said Russ Armistead, CEO of UF Health Jacksonville.  “Since we all share a common commitment to providing access to high quality health care, we are pleased to now have this information that can be used as we move forward to develop solutions to improve the lives of the citizens of northeast Florida.”

As part of the study, which collected data from five northeast Florida counties, focus groups and town hall meetings provided insight from individuals who represent the broad interests of the community.

The assessment identified significant community health needs by collecting and analyzing data and information from multiple sources. The study also analyzed statistics for numerous health status, health care access, and related indicators, including comparisons to benchmarks, where possible.  The assessment facilitators reviewed findings from recent assessments of the community’s health needs conducted by other organizations, as well.
  
The study found that some of the community’s greatest needs are:
• Lack of transportation
• Nutrition, physical activity and obesity
• Access to care
• Health disparities for various populations
• Mental health

“The results of the assessment were no surprise, but rather served as affirmation that we need to continue to be deeply integrated and in touch with the needs of the communities in which we serve,” said Mike Schatzlein, president and CEO of St. Vincent’s HealthCare. “We have selected some of the most critical health issues and have built corresponding action plans to continue addressing them.”

CHNAs seek to identify significant health needs for particular geographic areas and populations by focusing on these questions:
• Who in the community is most vulnerable in terms of health status or access to care?
• What are the unique health status and/or access needs for these populations?
• Where do these people live in the community?
• Why are these problems present?

Each hospital in the partnership plans to address significant needs with implementation strategies that have been adopted by their respective boards, with the goal of improving health care outcomes for all northeast Florida residents.

“Through collaboration, we achieve more,” said Gianrico Farrugia, CEO of Mayo Clinic in Florida. “One of Mayo Clinic’s founders, Dr. Will Mayo, called this a union of forces. This study provides us with the opportunity to come together to advance the quality of life of the communities we serve.”

“This comprehensive community health needs assessment has been an extremely worthwhile endeavor in helping us identify specific gaps in health care that currently exist in our community,” said Doug Baer, President and CEO of Brooks Rehabilitation. “We are pleased to now have this information that can be used as we move forward to develop solutions to improve the lives of northeast Florida residents.”

About the Jacksonville Metropolitan Community Benefit Partnership

In July 2011, leaders from Baptist Health, Brooks Rehabilitation, the Clay County Health Department, the Duval County Health Department, Mayo Clinic, the Nassau County Health Department, the Putnam County Health Department, UF Health Jacksonville (then Shands Jacksonville Medical Center), St. Vincent’s HealthCare, and Wolfson Children’s Hospital came together and formed the Jacksonville Metropolitan Community Benefit Partnership (the Partnership) to conduct the first-ever multihospital system and public health sector collaborative community health needs assessment (CHNA).

 

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