Valley woes chronic, complex according to report

Compared to other Californians, Valley residents have higher poverty rates, lack access to health insurance and medical providers, have higher rates of asthma and diabetes and don’t get their behavioral health needs adequately addressed. Those are some of the findings from research across four counties published in a “Community Needs Assessment” report by the Central Valley Health Policy Institute at California State University, Fresno.

Pediatric patient receives asthma education

The report, published in July, was produced as part of a collaboration involving Community Medical Centers, St. Agnes Medical Center, Children’s Hospital Central California, Madera Community Hospital, Adventist Health-Central Valley Network and Kaiser Permanente. The project was facilitated by Lynne Ashbeck, regional vice president for the Hospital Council of Northern and Central California, and looked at Fresno, Tulare, Madera and Kings counties.

The report includes data and analysis as well as findings from focus-group interviews. It also suggests some potential remedies.

Since passage of SB 697 in 1994, California nonprofit hospitals have been required to conduct community needs assessments at least every three years and to annually publish a community benefits report.

The passage in 2010 of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act imposes additional requirements regarding assessment, public reporting and implementation of remedies, encouraging collaboration among health providers. The publication of this “Community Needs Assessment” meets one of the new federal requirements, which take effect in 2012.

Read the full Community Needs Assessment report.

John G. Taylor reported this story. He can be reached at MedWatchToday@CommunityMedical.org.