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PHILADELPHIA – This summer, Public Health Management Corporation’s Community Health Data Base (CHDB) will conduct a major study, including a telephone survey examining the health, well-being and healthcare experiences of residents of Berks County. This Community Health Needs Assessment fulfills a requirement of the Affordable Care Act by providing a picture of the complex health needs of Berks County residents. Funded by a partnership among The Reading Hospital and Medical Center, St. Joseph Regional Health Network, Berks County Community Foundation, and United Way of Berks County and working with a community-guided advisory group, the data will help to assess and improve health across the county. “This collaborative effort will provide a foundation for on-going monitoring of the community’s health status. More importantly, survey results will point out what can and should be done to enhance the health and wellbeing of Berks County residents,” says Richard Mable, Senior Vice President for Community and Government Relations at The Reading Hospital and Medical Center.
“By combining our resources and contracting with PHMC, we are able make sure we have the best information possible to understand the health and healthcare needs of the populations we serve through the Community Health Needs Assessment,” notes Mary Hahn, Vice President of Strategy and Business Development at the St. Joseph Regional Health Network.
Public Health Management Corporation has been conducting health surveys in the region since 1983, and since 1994, has conducted the Southeastern Pennsylvania Household Health Survey every two years in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia Counties. In 2008 and 2011, Public Health Management Corporation conducted a similar household health survey in Berks, Lancaster, and Schuylkill Counties.
While every individual’s responses are kept confidential, these data are used together to examine patterns and trends in neighborhoods and communities throughout the region and are shared with non-profits, hospitals, academic institutions, government agencies and other organizations to plan and sustain public health initiatives, to advocate for programs that support health, and to better understand the factors that influence the health of adults and children throughout our region. The Berks County survey will address many of the topics covered in previous surveys, providing data on the County’s progress in the areas of health screenings, tobacco use, access to care, and more.
According to the 2011 Berks-Lancaster-Schuylkill Household Health Survey:
• 15.5% of Berks County adults (18+) have no regular source of healthcare. In Reading specifically, 18.1% of adults, or nearly 10,600 adults have no regular source of care.
• 16.2% of Berks County adults described their health as fair or poor. More than one in four Reading adults (26.2%) describes their health as fair or poor.
These health measurements are among the many that will be included in the 2012 Berks County survey, which will address screenings, diagnoses, neighborhood concerns, safety, health behaviors and more.
Public Health Management Corporation’s Community Health Data Base Household Health Survey is one of the largest regional health surveys in the country. The Pew Charitable Trusts, William Penn Foundation, United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania, United Way of North Penn, CIGNA Foundation, Green Tree Community Health Foundation, Philadelphia Foundation, North Penn Community Health Foundation, the Thomas Scattergood Foundation and over 350 local agencies from the health, government, nonprofit and academic sectors help to support CHDB. To view previous data news releases, please click here. For more information, or to access key findings from previous years, please visit www.chdbdata.org.
Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC) is a nonprofit public health institute that creates and sustains healthier communities. PHMC uses best practices to improve community health through direct service, partnership, innovation, policy, research, technical assistance and a prepared workforce. PHMC has served the region since 1972. For more information on PHMC, visit www.phmc.org.