2022 Community Needs Assessment
1. What are the major data changes from baseline? (prior needs assessment)
The percentage of uninsured individuals decreased in all 5 counties.
2. What contributed to these changes?
This change is largely due to the Medicaid expansion and the COVID19 funding that made Medicaid more accessible.
3. What barriers (specific to income) were made clear by the data?
- Affordable healthcare continues to be a barrier across all 5 counties. It is difficult to access the needed mental health counseling, dental care and other medical help due to the cost, whether it be co-pay or out of pocket. Individuals/families often have to make tough decisions about what to pay for. It is hard to get out of poverty when you have medical bills, or you need treatment or medication to help stabilize your life.
- Access to care in the rural counties is a barrier for low income individuals and families as there is limited specialty care, limited emergency care, and limited providers that take Medicare/Medicaid. Travel expenses to leave these rural counties and access care in the larger cities is not often within the household’s budget.
- In all 5 counties, there is a barrier of access to affordable substance abuse treatment. With COVID19, an increase in substance abuse has been reported through intake interviews and phone calls requesting help.
4. What gaps in service were noted for this issue?
- Greater access to healthcare: The households that have health insurance are those that are employed or who qualify for Medicare/Medicaid. Those individuals who are not employed or who have low paying jobs, do not have insurance. If there are healthcare needs, they have to pay out of pocket and cannot afford it. This leads to individuals going without necessary treatment and medications. In the past couple of years, due to COVID 19, many needed treatments were postponed, causing more issues. Individuals were afraid to leave their homes or be near others. This led to mental health issues that are difficult to address.
- Mental Health: There are limited health care providers that take Medicaid and those that do, are booked out. Mental Health Issues lead to poverty if not taken care of. This impacts housing and employment.
- Lack of dental care: Medicaid does not cover Dental care and many other insurances cover limited. People in poverty and those that are homeless don’t always have the best availability to best hygiene practices. Poor dental care can lead to other health issues.
- Emergency services for healthcare: These rural communities have limited Dr’s and no EMT’s. When there is an emergency, they have few choices. When the Dr isn’t aware of how to handle the situation, individuals must drive an hour or so to get services in St. George or Cedar City. Many don’t have the money to take the trip, especially with the increase in gas prices.
5. Are there individual/family/community unmet needs in this area
Dental services for low income families and individuals is a need across all 5 counties. Substance abuse treatment centers that we can inform and encourage individuals of to access help for their recoveries.
6. What linkages (including partnerships) are needed to address barriers, gaps, and unmet need?
- Southwest Behavioral
- The Family Health Center
- Redrock Center for Independence
- Department of Workforce Service
- Four Points Paiute Tribal Healthcare
- Help Me Grow
- Root for Kids
- Doctor’s Volunteer Clinic
- Community Health Workers at Southwest Public Health Department
7. From reviewing the health data, what has your agency learned about the root cause of poverty in your community?
It is difficult to maintain other areas of one’s life while healthcare is out of reach for many. Both distance and affordability contribute to the limited access of medical care, mental health counseling, dental care. Individuals/families often resort to prioritizing their needs based on what is most affordable, or what is going to immediately affect their families (i.e., paying the power bill to keep the electricity on as opposed to getting a cavity filled at the dentist).