A Community Health Needs Assessment is a process that’s been mandated by the Commission on Cancer (CoC) of the American College of Surgeons to evaluate the health needs of a community. The Assessment will then become the basis for a plan of action by St. Joseph’s Hospital Regional Cancer Center in Eureka. The report takes an in-depth look at the demographics of cancer incidence and death in these counties. Dr. Korsower volunteered to research an overview of the impact of cancer in the counties of Humboldt, Del Norte, Trinity and southern Curry County in Oregon. In her introduction, Dr. Korsower writes “Our goal is the creation of a Patient Navigation process, but the Assessment itself is not designed to solve the challenges it finds. It can only suggest areas where attention should be paid.”
The themes of the Assessment included the need for appropriate supportive services, health care access and financial challenges.
By interviewing both patients diagnosed with cancer and primary care providers in the communities she found the following:
Leading incidence rates for cancer in Humboldt/Del Norte/Trinity counties were (the number of cancers per 100,000 population):
Lung and bronchus cancer
Colon and rectum cancer
These counties have a higher cancer incidence rate than California as a whole for the above five most incident cancer sites.
Dr. Korsower also found the following demographics in the service area:
The four counties are predominantly rural.
They are expected to grow in the coming years, but at a slower rate than California as a whole.
The population is older than the average Californian.
There are significantly higher number of people living in poverty, greater than California as a whole.
The racial and ethnicity differs from that of California as a whole with a greater proportion of people who identify as White, American Indian or “two or more races,” but fewer African American, Asian or Latinos.
More of the counties’ residents speak English as their primary language.
There is a higher percentage of people covered by publicly-funded insurance.
And importantly, the entire service area has a shortage of health professionals, and all oncology services for the service area are located in Eureka.
In one year and with her own resources and time, Dr. Korsower has completed a very important and vital work that hopefully will fulfill the principles promoted by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange, namely “Care of the whole person, access to quality health care, consideration for the underserved and marginalized, and stewardship.”
To read the entire document, you can go to http://www.stjosepheureka.org/documents/CANCER-CARE-COMMUNITY-NEEDS-ASSESSMENT-2014.pdf
To listen to and/or download Corinne’s conversation with Dr. Diane Korsower click the following link: 5-25-2015 Corinne_Diane Korsower