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September 12, 2012

Report Indicates Access to Health Care and Obesity Are Most Pressing Health Issues in West Suburban Cook County

MAYWOOD, Ill. - Access to health care services and the rising rate of obesity have been identified as the health issues of greatest concern facing West Suburban Cook County communities, according to a just-released Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA).  The comprehensive report is the culmination of a six-month effort sponsored and coordinated by Loyola University Health System (LUHS). The process involved a steering committee of representatives from more than 10 community organizations and public health agencies, and the Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

"Loyola University Health System has always taken its commitment to community health very seriously," said Nahlah Daddino, director of Community Benefit, LUHS. "Engaging in this comprehensive CHNA process with the steering committee has revealed valuable insights and information for our health system, as well as for the more than 200 health-related organizations throughout West Suburban Cook County to utilize in furthering community health work." 

The report summarizes community statistics, health data and input about health issues from nearly 500 community residents, faith groups, social service agencies, physicians and others across 22 municipalities surrounding LUHS' two hospital sites: Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood and Gottlieb Memorial Hospital in Melrose Park.  The report looks at broad health concerns and barriers facing the nearly 500,000 people in this CHNA service area bordered by Cicero, Berkeley, Franklin Park and Brookfield with special attention to vulnerable and disadvantaged populations. 

Steering committee members identified access to health care services and the climbing rate of obesity as top health care priorities to be addressed. The committee came to this decision after reviewing the assessment findings and considering the scope and likelihood of impacting the problems at a local level.  The assessment uncovered many health needs, disparities and resources as these key findings show:

Approximately half of the CHNA service area population, or about 250,000 people, were uninsured or underinsured (lack insurance that fully covers or provides access to services for their health needs) in LUHS’ fiscal year 2010. 

Substantial disparities exist in the area’s socioeconomic status, unemployment rates, educational attainment and health status.

The Hispanic population is growing, and youth and senior populations dominate in certain CHNA service areas. 

When compared with all Suburban Cook County, this region of West Suburban Cook County fares worse in health status by most indicators, including having higher mortality rates for heart disease, cancer and stroke. 

Respondents reported diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and being overweight or obese as some of their top health diagnoses.  

Respondents named increased access to preventive and specialty health care services, coordination of care health care options, nutritional education, availability of healthy food, safe places to play and economic stability as factors that could improve health in their communities.  

There are more than 200 health care resources in the CHNA service area, including community health centers and other clinics, physician and medical group offices, outpatient surgery centers, hospitals, nursing homes and home-health agencies.

LUHS engaged the Illinois Public Health Institute, which partners to promote improvement in public health, to assist in facilitating the process.  In the year ahead, LUHS will develop approaches through enhancing existing programs and partnering with others on initiatives for improving access to health care services and reducing obesity.

The full CHNA report and its two data appendices are available at Loyola Medicine's Community Benefit web site. Other hospitals, health care agencies, schools, community organizations and municipalities are encouraged to use the CHNA report as a guide for them in addressing West Suburban Cook County’s health priorities.

About Loyola Medicine and Trinity Health

Loyola Medicine, a member of Trinity Health, is a quaternary care system based in the western suburbs of Chicago that includes Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC), Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, MacNeal Hospital and convenient locations offering primary and specialty care services from 1,877 physicians throughout Cook, Will and DuPage counties. LUMC is a 547-licensed-bed hospital in Maywood that includes the William G. and Mary A. Ryan Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine, the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, a Level 1 trauma center, Illinois's largest burn center, a certified comprehensive stroke center and a children’s hospital. Having delivered compassionate care for over 50 years, Loyola also trains the next generation of caregivers through its teaching affiliation with Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine and Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing. Gottlieb is a 247-licensed-bed community hospital in Melrose Park with 150 physician offices, an adult day care program, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park. MacNeal Hospital is a 374-bed teaching hospital in Berwyn with advanced inpatient and outpatient medical, surgical and psychiatric services, advanced diagnostics and treatments. MacNeal has a 12-bed acute rehabilitation unit, a 25-bed inpatient skilled nursing facility, and a 68-bed behavioral health program and community clinics. MacNeal has provided quality, patient-centered care to the near west suburbs since 1919.

Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic healthcare systems in the nation, serving diverse communities that include more than 30 million people across 22 states. Trinity Health includes 92 hospitals, as well as 109 continuing care locations that include PACE programs, senior living facilities and home care and hospice services. Its continuing care programs provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually. Based in Livonia, Mich., and with annual operating revenues of $18.3 billion and assets of $26.2 billion, the organization returns $1.1 billion to its communities annually in the form of charity care and other community benefit programs. Trinity employs about 129,000 colleagues, including 7,800 employed physicians and clinicians. Committed to those who are poor and underserved in its communities, Trinity is known for its focus on the country's aging population. As a single, unified ministry, the organization is the innovator of Senior Emergency Departments, the largest not-for-profit provider of home health care services—ranked by number of visits—in the nation, as well as the nation’s leading provider of PACE (Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly) based on the number of available programs.

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