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Health improvement strategies discussed by CHIP CAC group

Lake County’s Community Health Improvement Partnership Community Advisory Committee (CHIP CAC) convened for its monthly meeting on Thursday, March 20, to discuss health improvement strategies.

The primary discussion focused on the four identified health care problems and strategies developed in recent months by individual working groups, said CHIP coordinator John Adams.

These priorities include senior services and programs, a lack of physical activity opportunities, mental health and oral health.

Strategies for senior care include increasing utilization of existing available programs, increasing the availability of home care services in both north and south Lake County and development of home placement options.

In the realm of physical activities, strategies will include community outreach on the health benefits to physical activity and a scholarship program for low-income individuals at high risk of heart disease for participation in available community physical activity programs and services.

Promotion of existing facilities for physical activities is also included in this strategy.

Mental health strategies include increasing focus on identification of individuals with depression and connecting them with mental health care providers and integrating mental health and primary care providers.

Oral health strategies include implementing fluoride varnish and dental sealant programs with eligible school children and conducting an oral health assessment along with increased outreach on oral health issues.

The original deadline for submission of the Lake County CHIP plan has been extended to April 18, Adams said.

“Between now and when it’s due, we’ve got to do some work to make sure our measurable outcomes are well-defined and specific,” he said.

As an example of specificity, Adams noted that a goal is for 90 percent of eligible children to participate in the oral health program, with a reduction of tooth decay by a percentage amount yet to be determined.

The March 20 meeting served as a transition point for the CHIP CAC, which is now entering its second year.

In the coming months, another community-wide public meeting will likely be held, with thoughts of arranging such a gathering around the annual Dr. Daly Days Community Health Fair event, Adams said.

In the next year, a strategic planning process centered on a three-year plan for community health improvement.  At present, fundraising efforts are in the works for implementing the four core health improvement strategies described above.

The next meeting will be held on Thursday, April 17, at 5:30 p.m. in the Penn-Wilbur Conference Room at Lake District Hospital.

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