On Thursday, Nov. 14, the Methodist Healthcare System partnered with The Health Collaborative to host an Atascosa County Community Health Needs Assessment Report at Methodist Hospital South in Jourdanton. Executive and community leaders were invited to learn about the importance of a health assessment, learn a few living statistics about Atascosa County and start the conversation on how to improve the overall living quality in the community.
Dr. Steve Blanchard, Data Committee Chair for The Health Collaborative spoke about the guiding principles and importance for examining population health using the upstream/ downstream method: one must go upstream to find the cause of effects happening downstream and change it.
“We must look at it mathematically and statistically in order to understand and be able to solve the problem,” said Blanchard. “An intervention that improves housing, income [and] education likely will improve risk behaviors, which in turn, will improve the outcome of disease and injury, which in turn, we would hope, elevate life expectancy.”
Jeremy Pyne, Senior Program Manager at Community Information: Now, then provided statistics on the most recent health assessment on Atascosa County.
A few living statistics Pyne mentioned can be read below, but must be interpreted with caution:
The Texas Demographic Center estimates that Atascosa County’s 2019 population is at 51,048 residents.
Uninsured/Insured: About half of Atascosa County residents have an employer-based health insurance, with Medicaid and multiple-source coverage as a second and third source.
Housing Stability: One in five units in Atascosa County are rented (renteroccupied).
Income: The median household income has risen over recent years, but the increase is lower than it appears.
Education: 75 percent of adults 25 years of age and older have at least a high school degree or diploma in Atascosa County. One in six Atascosa County adults has an Associates or higher-level degree.
Here are some of the downstream statistics, or effects of the causes above:
Family Violence/ Sexual Assault: The number of sexual assaults per 100,000 population in Atascosa County has more than tripled since 2013.
Overall Health Status: About one in four Atascosa County Behavioral Risk Factor Survelliance System (BRFSS) respondents reported having fair or poor health.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death common in 18-64 and 65 or older age groups in Atascosa County.
Opiods and Other Drugs: It is estimated that 6,799.7 people per 100,000 adults in Atascosa County misuse psychotherapeutic drugs. The opiod prescription rate in the county appears high due to a larger older population with a greater need for pain management.
The current life expectancy is 78 years in Atascosa County.
Palmira Arellano with the Methodist Healthcare System performed a call to action amongst the executive and community leaders in attendance. They were encouraged to take the statistics learned about their community and start the conversation on how to better the quality of life in Atascosa County using the resources in their respective entities. Members of the community are also encouraged to speak out on the needs in their community whether that’s the cost of living, education, transportation, insurance aid, access to medical resources, etc.
“It starts with the resources in your community. What can you do or what needs to be done in order to improve the quality of life in Atascosa County?” said Arellano.
In an effort to meet the needs of the Atascosa County community, Methodist Hospital South recently opened up a multi-specialty clinic within their hospital and plaza that offers a variety of new specialties and specialists not previously offered to the community. Those specialties include orthopedics, sports medicine, urology and cardiology.
CEO of Methodist Hospital
South, Greg Seiler stated, “Part of our mission at Methodist is to expand what the Health Collaborative has been doing in Bexar County, which is now expanding into Atascosa County. We are here to hear what we can do and how we can focus our efforts here at the hospital to meet the needs of Atascosa County and beyond.”
For more information on what a health needs assessment is, or to read more Atascosa Co. statistics, visit www.healthcollaborative.net.