HSHS St. John’s Hospital and Memorial Medical Center will work with the Enos Park neighborhood beginning in October 2015 to determine how to improve access to health care for its residents.
The collaborative initiative grew out of this fall’s Sangamon County Community Health Needs Assessment, in which the public shared input at five public forums, filled out an online survey or turned in a printed form to identify the region’s top health priorities.
The four leading priorities were mental health, with 86.9 percent of participants rating it as a high priority; child abuse, 83.4 percent; excess weight, 78.8 percent; and access to care, 76.2 percent. Other identified health needs were heart disease, diabetes, dental care, food insecurity and asthma.
A total of 781 people completed the surveys, including 589 taking the online survey, 137 returning printed surveys, and 55 from the forums. More than 75 percent of the respondents were women. The survey was available to Sangamon County residents from Sept. 22 to Oct. 20.
“In a historical move, HSHS St. John’s Hospital and Memorial Medical Center are collaborating to identify our community’s greatest health care needs,” said Charles L. Lucore, MD, MBA, president and CEO of St. John’s Hospital. “We are committed to working with our neighbors at Memorial Medical Center and Enos Park neighborhood to develop strategies to better individual health and continue to expand our Franciscan health care ministry.”
To meet federal requirements, the two nonprofit hospitals must provide and make public a health-needs assessment every three years. HSHS St. John’s and Memorial developed separate plans in 2012 but are working together to develop the 2015 assessment. Each hospital will continue to develop separate priorities in addition to their collaborative initiative in Enos Park. Those results will be discussed at a community forum in October 2015.
“Many issues determine a community’s health, including education levels, economic status and environmental issues,” said Edgar J. Curtis, president and chief executive officer of Memorial Health System. “No single hospital, agency or governmental body can be entirely responsible for the health of its community or address these many issues alone. That’s why Memorial Medical Center is committed to this collaboration with HSHS St. John’s Hospital to strengthen access to care for Enos Park residents and potentially develop a model that can be replicated in our community.”
For the Enos Park initiative, the next step will be to hold three focus groups in January with the neighborhood’s residents to allow them to identify areas that hinder access to care. Enos Park’s borders are North Grand Avenue and Carpenter Street to the north and south; its western and eastern borders are Second and Ninth streets.
The Sangamon County Department of Public Health and Southern Illinois University School of Medicine will join the hospitals in the Enos Park initiative. The University of Illinois-Springfield will assist with the focus groups.