More than 50 representatives from community health and social service organizations based in the Merrimack Valley area gathered at the Andover Country Club on Friday, January 25, to lay the foundation for a comprehensive Community Health Needs Assessment to be led by Lawrence General Hospital over the next seven months.
Required of all hospitals in the nation every three years, this important public health review is used to provide a framework for community health improvement efforts in communities across the country. The final report also helps to ensure that the hospital is utilizing its resources and leveraging community partnerships in the most effective way to address identified community needs.
“This Community Health Needs Assessment is intended to help us design care and programming that meets the expressed needs of the communities we serve,
” said Lawrence General president and CEO during her opening remarks at the event. “When it’s completed in the fall, the report will provide an essential roadmap for our efforts to better serve the community over the next three years.
The Community Health Needs Assessment examines health in its broadest context to identify the perceived needs, challenges to accessing services, current strengths and assets, and opportunities for action. The collaborative information gathering process entails reviewing existing social, economic, and health data about the residents of the region and those who are traditionally underserved; conducting focus groups with community members; and interviewing key health care stakeholders and community leaders. A health needs assessment survey is also distributed widely throughout the region to gather information directly from residents and from health care providers.
“Our last community needs assessment in 2016 prompted us to strengthen Lawrence General’s programming around weight loss and cardiac and vascular services, as well as support programs for individuals with substance use disorder—like our Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome Program,
” said Anderson. “We have also instituted programming to improve access to health care, alongside our partners at Greater Lawrence Family Health Center and AllWays Health, through My Care Family, our Medicaid Accountable Care Organization. Improved community-based management of health and chronic diseases can reduce costly complications in this patient population and even prevent some related diseases.
The Community Health Needs Assessment advisory committee will reconvene in June to discuss the 2019 research findings and related action steps.
to view Lawrence General’s 2016 Community Health Needs Assessment report.