Lehigh Valley, Pa.,
10:16 AM

LVHN Reports 2019 Community Health Needs Assessment

Critical health needs in the regions of eastern Pennsylvania served by Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) include increasing mental health concerns, including substance use disorders, increasing costs of medications, lack of healthy food access, poor healthy behavior change and addressing diabetes and obesity rates. These issues were identified as a priority in LVHN’s 2019 Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA), which presents statistics from a variety of local, state and national sources as well as input from community members and LVHN leadership. .

The CHNA report examines the factors that impact the health and wellness of all the people in a particular geographic area. As part of the Affordable Care Act, starting in 2013, all non-profit hospitals and health care systems are required to conduct a Community Health Needs Assessment every three years. Beyond its regulatory function, the CHNA is an important overview of the current state of health in the region and identifies potential areas of concern which informs LVHN population health management efforts.

LVHN’s CHNA includes a report that looks at all of the factors that go into making people in a particular area healthy. This includes social and environmental factors like employment, education and air quality, individual behaviors like smoking or healthy eating, and the quality and availability of health care in their area. LVHN published a CHNA report for each of the counties in which the hospital system is present – Lehigh, Luzerne, Monroe, Northampton, and Schuylkill – to acknowledge and examine the unique differences of each local context. The full reports can be found at lvhn.org/CHNA.

The second component of the LVHN’s CHNA includes an Implementation Plan, which outlines our plan to address the needs identified in the CHNA report over the course of the next three years. The 2019 Implementation Plan will be shared as a separate report in the Fall 2019.

Based on the multiple inputs listed here, the preliminary areas for health improvement in the 2019 CHNA Implementation Plan include:

  • Increase capacity to address mental health needs across the continuum from prevention and de-stigmatization to intensive interventions, including addressing drug abuse in the community.
  • Increase outreach and community engagement efforts in the community to make community members aware of the resources available to them and to provide health care and prevention services in the places where community members are located.
  • Improve the ability of the healthcare system to respond to the diverse cultural needs of our patients including providing services in languages they understand.
  • Improve access to care, by providing services in proximity to where people are living, decreasing the cost of medications, and connecting patients to health insurance.
  • Decrease the burden of the social determinants of health (education, employment, housing, etc.) in the community.

In addition to providing the highest quality medical care, LVHN is committed to supporting the health of the community as a whole. We do this not only by providing quality healthcare but also by partnering with key agencies and community members to create innovative solutions that promote and support health and well-being. LVHN provides care to our most vulnerable populations through programs such as Street Medicine, Veterans Health Program, and the Connections Clinic for women who are pregnant and struggling with an addiction to opioids. Core to this work over the next few years will be a focus on providing services to youth in the home and community settings to optimize health and wellness.

“LVHN is deeply committed to addressing the needs of our communities and providing greater value to those we are here to serve. We believe that the emerging issues related to the social determinants of health are part of the work LVHN must do in collaboration with others so that together we can measurably improve the health of our communities.”