Carson City is trying to take the community’s pulse.
Carson City Health & Human Services, with Carson Tahoe Health and Partnership Carson City, held its first public health town hall Thursday at the Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center.
The goal was to get public input on a range of health issues affecting Carson City and to incorporate it into two documents — a Community Health Needs Assessment and a Community Health Improvement Plan.
The town hall was led by CCHHS Director Nicki Aaker who started off with a series of questions for the 28 participants, who were given clickers to reply so the results were immediately known.
When asked their opinion on the overall health of the community, 88 percent said somewhere between healthy and unhealthy.
When asked how they rate their own health, 44 percent said excellent, 25 percent each said good and fair, and 6 percent said poor.
People sat at five tables and after Aaker’s presentation each table discussed one of five topics: access to healthcare services, mental/behavioral health and substance abuse, chronic disease, health education and communications, and healthy behaviors.
After 10 minutes, the participants changed tables so their comments could be collected on each topic.
During one discussion at the table on chronic diseases, for example, one person commented on the problems finding primary care physicians and another talked about the connection to unemployment.
“If you’re poor, you have more chronic diseases,” she said.
At the table discussing access to healthcare service, one group agreed access to health insurance doesn’t equate to access to healthcare.
“Even insured people are waiting five months,” said one participant. “Insurance status may not matter.”
In addition to the public participants and CCHHS’ Aaker, City Manager Nick Marano, County Health Officer Susan Pintar, Partnership Carson City Finance Manager Linda Lang and Nevada Public Health Foundation Executive Director Rota Rosaschi took part.
The assessment and improvement plan that will be produced are used by the city health department for its accreditation through the Public Health Accreditation Board and by the hospital for accreditation by the Joint Commission.
Both works will be available to the public later this year at gethealthycarsoncity.org, where the 2012 assessment and the 2014 improvement plan are currently posted.