The findings report is now available for the 2022 Community Health Survey of adult residents in Jefferson, Lewis, and St. Lawrence counties. This survey has been completed every year since 2016 with the intent to support and plan future initiatives, monitor changes within the community, as well as to raise community awareness through the process of surveying. The sample size in the 2022 survey was 1,976, resulting in an average margin of error of ±2.3 for regional estimates.
This annual survey is spearheaded each year by North Country Health Compass Partners, which includes representation from Jefferson, Lewis, and St. Lawrence County public health departments, hospitals, healthcare facilities, behavioral health clinics, and a wide array of community-based organizations focused on community wellness and education. The group utilizes trends and data from each year’s report to plan priorities and initiatives to promote the health and wellness for all who reside within the region.
“FDRHPO and other healthcare stakeholders use this data to develop actionable items that target the North Country’s specific healthcare needs,” explains Megan Donato, FDRHPO’s Population Health/Clinical Data Analyst. “This year, the survey helps provide further insight into experiences with care, healthcare access, community health status, and healthy lifestyle indicators. The ability to compare results across demographic groups affords the opportunity to identify and address disparities in health equity.”
Below is a summary of some of the findings. The results for all survey questions, as well as many more detailed findings can be found in this link to the full report.
- Self-reported physical and dental health are recovering since 2020 and the pandemic-related decreases that were measured. However, self-reported mental health continues a steady decline.
- Those more likely to say they have “less than good” mental health includes members of the LGBTQIA+ community, persons with a disability, and those insured by Medicaid.
- Rates of diagnosed chronic diseases are significantly higher in 2022 than they were in 2019 when they were last studied.
- Three out of every five adults in the region have been diagnosed with at least one of the following: high blood pressure (31%), obesity (25%), a mental health condition (20%), pre-diabetes (12%), diabetes (10%), heart disease (9%), cancer (8%), and COPD (6%).
- The most common healthcare services cited by residents as challenging to access within the past year are dental/oral health services (28% noting difficulty), primary care (25%), and optometry/eye care (19%).
- Across all studied healthcare services, those who are more likely to indicate challenges in accessing services generally include: younger and middle-aged adults, racial minorities, those with lower household income, those with active-duty military in the home, and those who are either insured through Medicaid or uninsured.
- Participants who reported experiencing challenges or difficulties in receiving at least one type of healthcare service locally in the past 12 months were further asked about the largest challenge to receiving these services. The five most common responses were: “long wait time” (28%), “cost of care” (16%), “prior poor experience with provider” (12%), “work schedule” (12%), and “COVID-19” (9%).
- When looking at populations who may have the most need for various services, challenges become even more prominent.
- 43% of those with “less than good” dental health say they have experienced difficulty in receiving dental/oral health services.
- 29% of those with “less than good” mental health say they have experienced difficulty in accessing behavioral/mental health services.
- 24% of those with children in the home say they have experienced difficulty accessing pediatric, child and adolescent health services.
While these findings can seem stark at first glance, they clarify opportunities to improve the health of the region. It is important to remember that these results are coming after a few years of living through the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey helps to monitor health outcomes as the community reengages in activities that promote health, such as attending primary care well-visits. In fact, one positive key finding reflects that the majority of participants have a doctor they consider their personal provider (82%). Three out of four participants (74%) say they have visited a primary care provider in the past year. Establishing and following with a primary care provider is crucial for preventative care, in addition to participating in chronic disease self-management programs, getting exercise, eating healthy foods, and connecting with friends and loved ones.
“The Community Health Survey measures, identifies, and monitors key issues and gaps in our region’s healthcare system,” concludes Ms. Donato. “This information is critical in guiding our healthcare partners – hospitals, public health agencies, clinics, community-based organizations – in working collaboratively to engage in data-driven, comprehensive health planning to further strengthen the North Country’s healthcare system.”
Questions and comments can be directed here.