In early 2015, a variety of organizations across the Ozarks came together to better understand and improve the health status, behaviors and needs of the populations they serve. Under the umbrella of the local Ozarks Health Commission (OHC), this first-time collaboration is the largest in the region spanning four states—Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Kansas—51 counties and four hospital systems. The working group saw the value of using a systematic, data-driven assessment to inform decisions and guide efforts to improve community health and wellness on a regional level. This larger, concerted approach leverages common strengths and strategies to move in the same direction on significant health concerns. The Regional Health Assessment, as well as resulting action plans, will allow decision-makers to have a more holistic approach to strategically address community health concerns in their own jurisdictions.
Key participants in Ozarks Health Commission from the Springfield Community include: Burrell Behavioral Health, Citizens Memorial Healthcare, CoxHealth, Freeman Health System, Jasper County Health Department, Joplin Health Department, Mercy, Springfield-Greene County Health Department and Taney County Health Department.
In the OHC Region, 34 indicators were examined and categorized into groupings of health issues referred to as the assessment’s Assessed Health Issues (AHI). This process identified seven Assessed Health Issues and several other groups of social determinants of health. The committee then identified associated indicators and grouped them within the AHI. In addition, the list of poor-performing indicators for each Community was examined to identify other potential health issues. The committee then developed an objective process for scoring the AHI. The scoring system included both key points and community perspective, providing a more thorough examination of the AHI.
Fort Smith Community
Throughout this assessment, common threads often emerged in discussion around data and findings. While not explicitly identified as priority health issues, the Ozarks Health Commission recognizes the importance of highlighting the impact of these common threads on the health issues in the report.