Community Health Assessment Report Released

Ten healthcare organizations serving the Western Upper Peninsula region have completed a comprehensive assessment of community health needs and are sharing the results with the general public. Among the assessment’s key findings, considerably more Western U.P. residents have health insurance now than three years ago, when a similar assessment was conducted.

The 2015 Western Upper Peninsula Health Needs Assessment documents population health data and trends for six counties: Baraga, Gogebic, Houghton, Iron, Keweenaw and Ontonagon. The six-county project is a follow-up to a five-county report issued in April 2013. Western U.P. Health Department conducted the assessment, in collaboration with six hospitals, two community mental health agencies and a federally qualified health center.

Assessment partners included Aspirus Grand View Hospital, Aspirus Iron River Hospital, Aspirus Keweenaw Hospital, Aspirus Ontonagon Hospital, Baraga County Memorial Hospital, U.P. Health System-Portage, Upper Great Lakes Family Health Center, Copper Country Community Mental Health, and Gogebic County Community Mental Health, along with the health department. Aspirus Iron River Hospital and Upper Great Lakes Family Health Center were new partners in 2015-16, and the assessment project expanded to include Iron County in addition to the five counties of the Western U.P. Health District.

Collaboration by the region’s major health care organizations enabled the health department to conduct an assessment of much greater breadth and depth than would be possible for any single entity. The support of partners gave the Health Department the resources to go far beyond what most regions can achieve in health assessment. The final report includes local health indicators drawn from hundreds of data sets, covering demographics, economic factors, and health data across the lifespan from birth to death.

A detailed health survey of 1,834 adults selected at random from across the region helped fill in the details, the how’s and why’s, that a simple examination of vital statistics would otherwise miss. Survey data tell important information about people’s health status, access to care and health behaviors. Survey results are used to measure changes in population health over time, and to identify health issues that are priorities for health improvement. Local hospitals, physicians and other health partners are evaluating the data and identifying programs and services to better serve their patients, clients, and communities.

The 2015 assessment found that the region’s population continues to age, with more than 20 percent of residents older than 65. Differences in health were more pronounced by income than by county of residence, and factors like tobacco use, obesity and substance abuse that are root causes of chronic disease are still widespread.

Among the most pronounced differences from 2012 to 2015, the health survey found that the rate of adults age 18 to 64 with no health insurance declined sharply from an estimated 18.6 percent to 8.5 percent, mainly due to the Affordable Care Act. Although most residents now have health insurance, the cost of co-pays and deductibles still poses a barrier to seeking care for many, and all counties have federal designations for health professional shortages for primary care, mental health and dental health.

The public may download the 220-page data book and a companion 8-page community report from the links below.


2015 Community Health Needs Assessment-Community Report

2015 Community Health Needs Assessment Full Report