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A chart shows how data was collected for the 2022 Cass County Health Needs Assessment.

Logansport Memorial Hospital released a report this week detailing the results of this year’s Community Health Needs Assessment and highlighting the hospital’s plan to improve five key areas where the county is currently struggling in terms of meeting health needs.

According to the report’s executive summary, the Community Health Needs Assessment “is a systematic, data-driven approach to determining the health status, behaviors, and needs of residents in Cass County.”

“The Community Health Needs Assessment is a valuable tool in helping Logansport Memorial Hospital identify the top health needs in Cass County,” LMH Vice President of Planning and Development Vicki Byrd said earlier this year. “The survey results provide data that help us work with collaborative community partners to implement new or build upon ongoing programs in Cass County that directly address these identified needs.”

The assessment’s main goals include identifying prioritized health needs within the county, comparing the new data to previous results, creating a foundation to make recommendations for implementation of strategies to be used by healthcare providers, community partners and policymakers, and providing public access to inform the community of the county’s overall health status and provide opportunities to improve.

The assessment was conducted from April to June this year through phone and online surveys. Once data was collected, a report was presented in August, heath priorities were determined and the implementation strategy was finalized before November.

The top areas that Logansport Memorial Hospital are prioritizing include mental health, nutrition, physical activity and weight, substance abuse, access to health care services, and infant health and mortality, respectively.

Mental health

Mental health was at the top of the list because, according to the hospital’s implementation plan, at least 18.8% of Cass County residents surveyed indicated they were experiencing fair or poor mental health. Comparatively, Cass County’s rate was 7.8% in 2013 and the U.S. rate is currently 13.4%. The hospital’s overall goal involved reducing the amount of people experiencing poor mental health by strengthening “partnerships to deliver mental health and substance use services more effectively in the community.”

To accomplish that goal, the hospital will work with Indiana Health Center, 4C Health, Logansport State Hospital, Youth Services Alliance and Drug Free Communities, the four county school corporations, Ivy Tech Community College, The Bridge Community Church and the Logansport/Cass County Chamber of Commerce.

The hospital plans to reduce poor and fair mental health by implementing an obstetrics maternal mental health bundle, creating a local employee assistance program that will follow up with people and ensure follow-through, developing a mobile app for information sharing and service access, promoting the 988 mental health hotline, developing programming to identify and address family issues and holding quarterly team meetings to discuss those strategies.

Both the short-term plan, which is over the next one to three years, and the long term plan, which is four to seven years, include a goal of more than 40% of Cass County residents responding to feeling only “moderately stressful.” Progress on the county’s mental health will be evaluated using the 2025 Community Health Needs Assessment.

Nutrition, physical activity, and weight

The next area the assessment deemed critical to Cass County residents’ health was to improve physical activity levels. The hospital’s overall goal was identified as providing and supporting “inclusive, accessible, and diverse health and wellness opportunities.” The assessment found that, overall, county residents fail to meet physical activity recommendations and have a higher prevalence of obesity than the state and country.

The hospital will work with Indiana Health Center, 4C Health, Logansport State Hospital, Youth Services Alliance and Drug Free Communities, the four county school administrations, Ivy Tech Community College, The Bridge Community Church, Logansport Parks Department and Cass County Family YMCA to accomplish that goal.

To increase physical activity and encourage healthier lifestyles, the hospital plans to develop initiatives that encourage students to participate in sports, develop initiatives that reduce screen time, promote physical activities in partnerships with the Logansport Parks Department and the Cass County YMCA, provide free community health events, create both English and Spanish promotional materials, and hold quarterly team meetings about accomplishing those strategies.

Short term, the hospital would like to report less than 40% of Cass County children between 5 and 17 years old as overweight or obese over the next one to three years. Over the next four to seven years, the hospital’s goal is to report less than 30% of children between 5 and 17 years old as obese. Progress toward those goals will be evaluated using the 2025 Community Health Needs Assessment.

Substance abuse

The third topic of concern for Cass County residents’ health was substance abuse. The assessment found that 3% of respondents indicated that they had used illicit drugs within a month of taking the survey, and only 4% had ever sought professional help for alcohol and/or drug usage. The hospital’s goal is to “provide opportunity for early intervention services for individuals with substance use disorders.”

To accomplish that goal, the hospital will work with Indiana Health Center, 4C Health, Logansport State Hospital, Youth Services Alliance and Drug Free Communities, the four county school administrations, Ivy Tech Community College, The Bridge Community Church, the Logansport Police Department, Cass County Family YMCA and the Logansport/Cass County Chamber of Commerce.

To improve early intervention for residents with substance use problems, the hospital is planning to develop a second chance policy program that will work with employers so people can keep their jobs, support medication assisted treatment for substance use, and hold quarterly meetings to discuss accomplishing those strategies.

The hospital’s short-term goal over the next one to three years includes decreasing the rate of illicit drug use to 2.5% over a month period and reporting less than 30% as the rate that residents’ lives have been negatively impacted by substance use. Over the next four to seven years, the hospital hopes to report that less than 2.5% of residents have used illicit drugs over a month period and less than 30% of residents’ lives have been negatively impacted by substance use. The 2025 Community Health Needs Assessment will be used to monitor progress toward those goals.

Access to health care services

The fourth area of concern highlighted by the assessment was Cass County residents’ access to health care services. The assessment found that 43.8% of county adults reported that they had some type of delay or difficulty in receiving health care within the past year, which is significantly higher than the national average of 35%.

The hospital’s goal is to “provide increased and varied access to healthcare services that are designed to meet the needs of the community served by Logansport Memorial Hospital.”

The hospital will partner with Indiana Health Center, 4C Health, Logansport State Hospital, Youth Services Alliance and Drug Free Communities, the four county school corporations, Ivy Tech Community College, The Bridge Community Church, Purdue University-I-HOPE, Cass County Online and Area Five Agency on Aging and Community Services.

To increase healthcare access, the hospital is planning to create a hub where residents, social service providers and consumers will all share information, conduct regular social service provider meetings, expand and promote digital platforms like telehealth services and remote patient monitoring, develop in-home programming that includes patient monitoring and para-medicine, promote direct healthcare services contracts with employers and hold quarterly meetings to discuss accomplishing those strategies.

Over the next one to three years, the hospital’s goal is to report that less than 40% of county residents had difficulty or delay in receiving healthcare services. Over the next four to seven years, the hospital’s goal is to report that less than 36% of residents had difficulty or delay receiving healthcare services. Progress toward those goals will be monitored with the 2025 Community Health Needs Assessment.

Infant health and mortality

The final topic in the top five concerns highlighted by the assessment is infant mortality. With a rate of 8.9 infant deaths per 1,000 births between 2016 and 2020, Cass County has a higher infant mortality rate than both the state and country. The hospital identified its goal to “reduce the rates of fetal infant mortality (greater than 20 weeks) and child mortality (under 18 years) in Cass County.”

The hospital will partner with Logansport Memorial Hospital Family Birth Center, Indiana State Department of Health, Cass County Department of Child Services, Integrated Maternal and Child Health, and Purdue University-I-HOPE.

To reduce infant and child mortality, the hospital plans to activate a community action team commissioned by the Indiana Department of Health, educate the community on safe sleep practices and deliver family health education classes.

The hospital’s short-term goals are to report a less than 8% infant mortality rate within the next one to three years. In four the seven years, the hospital hopes to report a less than 5% infant mortality rate. Progress toward those goals will be monitored with the 2025 Community Health Needs Assessment.

The report’s executive summary stated that the implementation plan for those five areas will be monitored over the next three years and could change based on the community’s needs.

“This plan is considered an evolving document, not a static ‘snapshot,’” the summary said. “As new strategies for success are developed, the implementation p0lan will be changed. In this way, Cass County will realize its goals of increased access, reduced costs, and improved quality of care to secure a healthier future for the residents of this community.”

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