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St. Luke's Identifies Top Health Needs in Southwest Idaho

By Anita Kissee, News and Community
February 27, 2017

In an effort to improve health and provide exceptional patient-centered care, St. Luke's Health System has identified the most significant health challenges facing people in Southwest Idaho.

St. Luke's recently completed a 2016 Community Health Needs Assessment in each of its hospital communities. The CHNA is a comprehensive analysis of the region's top health needs, and is required by the IRS every three years under the Affordable Care Act. The CHNA process includes extensive review of local, regional and national data along with in-depth interviews with key community leaders. The needs are then ranked based on the potential to improve community health.

St. Luke's Boise/Meridian CHNA top three priorities are:

  1. Improve the prevention, detection and treatment of obesity and diabetes.
  2. Improve the prevention, detection and management of mental illness and reduce suicide.
  3. Improve access to affordable health care and affordable health insurance.

"The CHNA process allows us to pinpoint those areas of most concern to our neighbors and communities and to address them most effectively, through St. Luke's programs and through partnerships with some incredible community organizations," said Dr. David Pate, St. Luke's president and chief executive officer.

"The partnerships we are involved in optimize our effectiveness, and really show just how true it is that we are better together," he said.

To address these high-priority needs, St. Luke's created a three-year implementation plan. The collaborative plan includes St. Luke’s programs as well as impactful community-based initiatives with partner organizations.   

#1 - Obesity and diabetes

  • Thirty percent of adults and one in 10 children in Idaho are obese.
  • Estimated to cost the U.S. $150 billion a year, or 10 percent of the national medical budget.
  • Contribute to serious health problems like heart and kidney disease, even resulting in death.

Twelve programs and initiatives are being supported through St. Luke’s direct funding or in-kind expertise and partnership. Examples include the Promise Partnerships with United Way, Saint Alphonsus and local school districts; the YMCA’s Healthy Living Center and St. Luke’s health coaching. 

#2 - Mental Illness and Suicide

  • At 22.5 percent, Idaho has one of the highest rates of mental illness in the nation.
  • Idaho is ranked last in the nation for psychiatric recruitment and retention.
    •    Current = one psychiatrist per 15,676 Idaho residents.
    •    Adequate = one psychiatrist per 10,000.
  • Suicide rates in Idaho are consistently higher than the national average.
  • Suicide is the second-leading cause of death in Idaho among those ages 10 to 44.
  • Data shows people with lower incomes are three-and-a-half times more likely to have depressive disorders.

The majority of the 14 programs making up this portion of the plan are community partnerships. One of the most impactful programs is the Ada County Paramedics Psychiatric Emergency Team. St. Luke’s is providing a Community Health Improvement Fund grant of $40,000 to build up a Psychiatric Emergency Team. CHIF grants will also help form the Children's Counseling Collaborative and fund Housing First.

In addition, in fiscal year 2017 St. Luke's provided an operational subsidy of $165,000 to Allumbaugh House, a regional facility that offers detox and crisis mental health services to qualified residents.

#3 - Affordable Health Care and Health Insurance

  • Barriers to access prevent people from receiving timely medical care:
    •    Lack of transportation to doctors' offices.
    •    Availability of health care providers.
    •   Cost of care and health insurance.
  • 19 percent of US adults do not receive/delay medical care over concerns about the cost.
  • The uninsured population has a 25 percent higher mortality than those with health insurance
  • Statistics show lower income and education levels, and Hispanic populations, are much more likely not to have health insurance.

The six programs addressing the access include transportation solutions, financial care, senior health insurance advisors and Latino community outreach.

St. Luke's is also supporting a partnership between Ada County Paramedics, the State of Idaho, BSU, ISU, and various city- and county-based EMS services to provide innovative, free primary care services in remote, rural areas.

Read the full CHNA reports for Boise and Meridian.

About The Author

Anita Kisseé was the Treasure Valley public relations manager for St. Luke’s Health System.

Related Facility

St. Luke's Boise Medical Center
190 E. Bannock St.
Boise, ID 83712
(208) 381-2222

Related Facility

St. Luke's Meridian Medical Center
520 S. Eagle Rd.
Meridian, ID 83642
(208) 706-5000