The 2018 Anne Arundel County Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) was recently released. The comprehensive, data-driven report, which identifies the health needs of the community, is a collaboration between the Anne Arundel County Department of Health; Anne Arundel Medical Center (AAMC); University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center (UM BWMC); Anne Arundel County Mental Health Agency; Community Foundation of Anne Arundel County; Anne Arundel County YWCA; and Anne Arundel County Partnership for Children, Youth and Families. The CHNA report can be viewed at www.aahealth.org/CHNA2018.
As a mandate under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the assessment presents data and key factors impacting the health of county residents and serves as the foundation for strategic planning for local hospitals and public health agencies.
“Improving the health and well-being of our communities is the driving force of every organization involved in this report,” said acting Anne Arundel County Health Officer Billie Penley. “The information from the CHNA helps us to guide our efforts to address the health needs and disparities in our county.”
The CHNA examines a variety of health and behavioral indicators, including social determinants of health (such as poverty, housing and education), mortality rates, high-risk behaviors (alcohol and tobacco use), and chronic health conditions such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease. The 2018 report identified mental health, substance abuse, access to care, and chronic disease as health priorities for the county. The report also shares principal findings such as an increase in county residents classified as obese, the growth of the Hispanic population, the lack of public transportation, homelessness, and the impact of social media on mental health.
“The CHNA provides critical insight into the health needs and concerns of county residents,” said Becky Paesch, vice president of physician services at UM BWMC. “Its findings have led to increased focus on areas of highest need in our community, such as mental health and the opioid use. We will continue to use the findings identified through the CHNA to make sure we are moving in the right direction.”
Deneen Richmond, vice president of population health and clinical improvement at Anne Arundel Medical Center, agreed that the assessment furthers the mission of enhancing the health of patients.
“The last assessment prompted us to solidify our palliative care program and work on better care coordination for patients,” Richmond said. “This important assessment impacts real change to better health care in our community.”