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Tuesday, July 16, 2013 - Munson Healthcare Hospitals Release Strategies to Meet Identified Health Needs in Region

Munson Healthcare Hospitals Release Strategies
to Meet Identified Health Needs in Five-County Region

After sharing Community Health Needs Assessments earlier this year, three Munson Healthcare hospitals have released plans to meet community needs in the five-county Grand Traverse region.

Hospital officials invite the region’s residents to join the effort to improve community health by knowing the needs, reading the plans, and becoming involved in wellness efforts.

The Community Health Implementation Strategy focuses its attention on the priorities of obesity, diabetes, maternal smoking, and access to care for medical, dental, and behavioral health needs, particularly for the uninsured and Medicaid populations.

“Our implementation strategy addresses the needs identified and prioritized in our Community Health Needs Assessment that we completed and made public in April,” said Diane Butler, RN, manager of Community Health at Munson Medical Center. “What the implementation strategy does is describe how we are going to address the health priorities of the region, and some other issues that we’ve identified as well.”

The Community Health Needs Assessment was the culmination of a year-long effort to gather primary data for the report that was then combined and analyzed with secondary data supplied by the Healthy Communities Institute. The report involved collaboration with four health departments, the use of multiple focus groups, key informant interviews, and approval by hospital boards from Munson Medical Center, Kalkaska Memorial Health Center, and Paul Oliver Memorial Hospital.

Results of the Community Health Needs Assessment were shared with community partners through various presentations to health care providers, county collaboratives, behavioral health partners, the Poverty Reduction Initiative, and other interested parties.

“Each hospital then participated in the development and implementation of a community health improvement plan specific to their communities,” Butler said.

Butler said because obesity was identified as a top health risk in Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, and Leelanau counties, each hospital is developing a strategy to respond to the need. Munson Medical Center and Priority Health sponsored the ShapeMichigan event in November 2012. Munson has created community planning groups to work with schools, health care providers, businesses, and community agencies to improve wellness in the community.

All three hospitals that serve residents in the five-county region have signed the Michigan Health and Hospital Association Healthy Hospital Food Pledge which provides pediatric menus for children ages 2 - 18 that meet the American Heart Association guidelines, calls for a transition to healthy beverages, provides labels for the nutritional content of cafeteria offerings, and has committed to purchase at least 20 percent Michigan grown and produced foods by Jan. 1, 2020.

Munson Medical Center also will continue to offer its Healthy Weight Center and physician-led team to help improve the weight of individuals in northern Michigan.

The Northern Michigan Diabetes Initiative will continue to be Munson Healthcare’s primary effort to respond to the growing rate of type 2 diabetes in the region. The 12-county regional collaboration was established in 2006 and is dedicated to prevention, early detection, and management of diabetes. Among the key components of the initiative is a website nmdiabetes.org, a Facebook page, and educational outreach for providers.

Efforts to reduce the percentage of expectant mothers who smoke will build on ongoing education efforts and programs such as the Munson Healthy Futures Program and the state’s Great Start Collaborative to raise awareness regarding the complications and impact of maternal smoking in pregnancy.

“We are engaging with our community partners to identify opportunities and barriers so we can help mothers quit smoking,” Butler said.

Access to care issues will continue to be addressed through a multi-pronged effort, including charity care for those who qualify, financial support for the Traverse Health Clinic, continued operation of the Munson Family Practice Residency Program and Clinic, and operation of Munson’s HealthLink, a physician and community resource and referral center, to deliver appropriate referral sources for patients in need.

Collaboration will continue with Pine Rest, Community Mental Health, Catholic Human Services, Child and Family Services, and Third Level, to address access to care for behavioral health needs in the region.

“Patients in the region will benefit most as we continue to work with and promote dialog between the many partners of the behavioral health system,” Butler said.

Much more information on the Community Health Implementation Strategies for Munson Medical Center, Kalkaska Memorial Health Center, and Paul Oliver Memorial Hospital is available at munsonhealthcare.org/chna/plans.