Monday, June 9, 2014 12:00 AM

Collaborating to remedy our most chronic needs

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.

Nonprofit, locally-run Community Medical Centers collaborated with St. Agnes Medical Center, Children’s Hospital Central California, Madera Community Hospital, Adventist Health-Central Valley Network and Kaiser Permanente to look at health issues in Fresno, Tulare, Madera and Kings Counties.

After an extensive review of data, as well as interviews with community and health leaders, this collaborative published a written report identifying and suggesting responses to some of the region’s chronic health, economic and educational challenges.

Some key issues identified included:

  • High rates of obesity, diabetes, asthma, teen pregnancy and unmet mental health needs

  • A large number of young Latino residents with limited access to health insurance

  • Large populations who live in households where English is either not spoken or not spoken very well 

  • A jobless rate and the percentage of residents without high school diplomas in excess of statewide averages


With this research in hand, Community Regional Medical Center, Clovis Community Medical Center and Fresno Heart & Surgical Hospital determined how they would implement responses to the report’s key findings, complying with the Affordable Care Act of 2010.

Community continues to partner with other providers, government agencies and community groups in identifying best practices toward remedying the region’s myriad challenges.

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.

Read the full Community Needs Assessment report.

This story was reported by John G. Taylor, Community's Director of Public Affairs. He can be reached at