ORANGE COUNTY: Will Assess Community’s Health
Orange County will conduct a phone survey to help it "determine the health needs of its residents" and to distribute health care dollars appropriately "in this time of shrinking budgets and expanding health care costs." The Orange County Register reports that "[a]bout 2,400 Orange County residents -- representing the county's demographics -- will receive telephone calls over the next three months as part of the first-ever effort to assess the county's overall health." A $198,000 grant from the California Endowment, $100,000 from the county and contributions from area hospitals will fund the cost of the $330,000 assessment. The Healthcare Association of Southern California, which represents the region's 34 hospitals, is sponsoring the assessment, "which also will include more than a dozen focus groups and analysis of such data as birth certificates and death records." The assessment will attempt to "show how and why people die, the chronic diseases from which they suffer, reasons they enter the hospital and the health of newborn babies." Additionally, the survey will show "how people feel about their health, the values they place on it, and what kind of gaps they view in the health of the community." The results will be released in late December. "It's the rough equivalent of a physical exam for the community," said Len Foster, the county's deputy director of public health and co-chair of the study committee (Gordon, 2/25).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.