A health needs assessment has determined the greatest needs of the Livingston County communities served by the Saint Joseph Mercy Health System.

The Community Health Needs Assessment is a requirement of all tax-exempt hospitals established as part of the Affordable Care Act. Focused on Livingston County, the assessment included an in-depth review of national, state and local data; key stakeholder interviews and community focus groups. Community members identified obesity, food access, and cardiovascular disease as priority concerns. While the percent of overweight or obese adults in the county is on par with the state, health system officials say it has shown a continued increase over time. In addition, behavioral health was a top concern, with both suicide and drug overdose rates in the county above the state rates. Access to care is a concern for many community members with the ratios of physicians to community members across primary care and specialties “much lower than the state and national ratios.”

System officials say that strategies to address these needs in Livingston County include supporting schools with education and prevention strategies around behavioral health and weight management; improving community access to nutritious foods and addressing access to care barriers such as transportation. St. Joseph Mercy Livingston has developed an implementation plan to address these health issues and you’ll find a link for that below. (JK)