Community Health Needs Assessment

Indiana University Health is committed to the health and wellness needs of all Indiana communities we serve. Through the 2015 Community Health Needs Assessment, we have identified and are focusing our 2016-18 community benefit efforts on the following community health needs and associated strategies:

Behavioral Health and Substance Abuse

Demand for behavioral health services, including drug and alcohol treatment, is increasing dramatically at national, state, and local levels. Some studies suggest as many as 1 in 8 emergency department visits involve a mental health or chemical dependency issue due to a shortage of behavioral health providers. Indiana’s mental health ranking is 45th out of 50 states, and our drug poisoning rate per 100,000 population is 25.6 (Delaware County) and 26.9 (Blackford County). (Source: County Health Rankings)

Strategy to address the need:

In 2016 a statewide Behavioral Health Collaborative was chartered. The collaborative includes key stakeholders from all over the state. Led by Michael Haley, former President of IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital, the collaborative has representation from IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital and the Foundation as well as Meridian Health Services. The collaborative is focusing on three main initiatives: improving access to behavioral health care in the Emergency Department; addictions treatment; and the integration of behavioral health in the primary care setting.

Healthy Weight and Nutrition

The percentage of obese adults is an indicator of the overall health and lifestyle of a community. Obesity increases the risk of many diseases and health conditions including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, hypertension, and stroke. Obesity carries significant economic costs due to increased health care spending and lost earnings. In Delaware County 31.5% of adults over the age of 20 are obese, and in Blackford and Jay counties the number jumps to 36% and 34% respectively. (Source: CDC)

Strategy to address the need:

The Foundation created the Healthy Communities Alliance of Delaware and Blackford Counties. The HCA is comprised of a cross-section of community organizations and individuals who are concerned about the rising rates of chronic disease in our communities. The Alliance consists of nearly 100 partner members focused on three priority areas: increased physical activity, nutrition, and smoking cessation.

The Foundation created the Families at the Farmer’s Market programs at Minnetrista and at Hartford City’s Growers and Makers Market. This program recruits resource-limited families who are interested in attending a series of workshops to learn about the importance of integrating fresh produce into a family meal plan. Families receive IU Health Bucks to purchase fruits and vegetables at the farmers market.

Infant Health Factors

In 2015 the infant mortality rate in the Eastern Region of Indiana (as defined by the Indiana State Department of Health was 6.7%. This is one of the highest rates in the state. Nurses at IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital partnered with the IU Health Ball Memorial Foundation as well as community partners to focus on safe sleep and other interventions in the following counties: Blackford, Delaware, Grant, Jay and Randolph. This multidisciplinary group identified two groups of risk factors that influence the mortality of infants in the Eastern Region of Indiana: unsafe sleep habits and poor parental habits.

Strategy to address the need:

Families delivering at IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital are now provided ‘sleep sacks’ for their infant. These clothing items are zippered up the front and stitched closed at the bottom and are made of lightweight fabric. If the family states that they do not have a ‘safe sleep space’ for the infant, they are provided with a portable crib.

Car seats are inspected to make sure that they are appropriate for the size of the infant and families know how to secure them in the vehicle.

Smoking and Tobacco

Tobacco is the agent most responsible for avoidable illness and death in the United States today. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tobacco use brings premature death to almost half a million Americans each year. Areas with high smoking prevalence will also have greater exposure to second hand smoke for non-smokers which can cause or increase a wide range of adverse health effects such as cancer, respiratory infection and asthma. In Delaware County 21% of adults smoke, and in Blackford County it is 17.7%. (Source: County Health Rankings)

Strategy to address the need:

Through the work of the Healthy Communities Alliance and our participation in the Tobacco Free Delaware County Coalition, 1-800 QUIT NOW tobacco-free toolkits were created and continue to be distributed to interested organizations.

Access to Affordable Healthcare

IU Health is committed to providing complete, quality healthcare for Hoosiers; a top health need identified by all statewide communities served by IU Health. We are focusing on the needs of the underserved to create initiatives and support efforts that both educate community members to understand and navigate the healthcare system and also to increase the availability of low-cost services and provide financial assistance.

Strategy to address the need:

In 2016, IU Health provided more than 100,000 patients with more than $129 million in free or reduced-cost care and currently supports a number of clinics to provide free or reduced-cost care to individuals without access to insurance or the ability to pay the full cost of their healthcare.