At Mid-Columbia Medical Center, our Community Benefit priorities and expenditures are directed by a detailed assessment process through which we gather data from internal sources as well as community partners.
In 2014, our organization, as a member of the Columbia Gorge Health Council (CGHC), participated in a collaborative needs assessment that gathered input from agencies serving Mid-Columbia and Gorge-area communities, including three other hospitals, county health departments, a local coordinated care organization, social services agencies, healthcare providers and patients.
The results were compiled in the Columbia Gorge Regional Community Health Assessment Agency report, which identified several primary needs in the Gorge region. These included adequate income, stable housing, food, transportation, prevention health services and both medical and behavioral health services. Access to care was an additional region wide identified issue.
Health outcomes and other factors of particular concern in Wasco County include the following:
- A high rate of chronic disease
- Prevalence of adult and child obesity
- Teen pregnancy
- High school graduation rate
- Limited access to healthy foods
- Inadequate social support
Because this assessment identified needs that are beyond MCMC’s role in the community, the hospital is collaborating with other agencies to address the most critical needs. The areas MCMC will focus on include:
- Re-enrollment assistance for those on the Oregon Health Plan to increase the insured population;
- Participation in a community-wide coalition addressing childhood obesity in an effort to decrease the early onset of chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension;
- Offering individual case management to some of our highest need patients;
- Exploring how to increase access to dental care. Serious dental problems are among the top 10 diagnoses of emergency room patients.