ORANGE COUNTY: Nears Completion Of Health Needs Assessment
Orange County health officials are nearing completion of the Health Needs Assessment, "an inches-thick report detailing the hows and whys of who gets sick and who gets cared for in the county" of 2.7 million people. The Los Angeles Times reports that officials hope the $400,000, 11-month study will provide a "road map" for prioritizing the expenditure of public health dollars. "It is essentially a snapshot of the health of the community," said County Director of Public Health Dr. Hugh Stallworth. The Times reports that the study "will describe the health habits of residents -- from whether children wear bicycle helmets to whether lovers use condoms -- along with a look at such statistics as birth and death rates and the primary causes of illnesses and hospitalizations." More than 50 agencies have cooperated in the data-gathering endeavor -- including the Healthcare Association of Southern California, the county's Health Care Agency and CalOPTIMA -- but researchers also gained information through focus groups and a 400-question poll of 5,000 county residents. The Times reports that the assessment "was created in response to a 1994 state law that required nonprofit hospitals to analyze the health needs of the people they serve and outline a plan to fill those needs." The report is slated for release Mar. 1 (Warren, 1/2). Click here for past CHL coverage.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.