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First of Its Kind Study Reveals Tri-County Health Issues

The study is mandated by the Affordable Care Act; hospitals have to gather this data every three years.
PEORIA - A recent study is giving hospitals a clearer picture of the health problems facing the Tri-County region.

The study is mandated by the Affordable Care Act; hospitals have to gather this data every three years.

OSF St. Francis Medical Center and UnityPoint Health - Methodist worked with Bradley University and other organizations to survey people in the Tri-County Area.
According to the study, the eight most critical health-related issues in the Tri-County region are:
·  Asthma:  Inpatient admissions to the Peoria-area hospitals for asthma increased a staggering 26.7%.

·  Diabetes:  Type I and Type II Diabetes diagnoses are increasing, with 10% of Tri-County residents now affected by the disease.  That figure exceeds state averages.

·  Lung Cancer:  Lung cancer cases have steadily increased in the Tri-County region over the past 23 years.  During the study period, cases of lung cancer in patients ages 65 and older, in particular, increased significantly.

·  Mental Health:  Approximately 25% of local residents reported they had experienced one to seven days with poor mental health per month between 2007 and 2009. That is greater than the state average for the same time frame.
·  Obesity:  The Tri-County is home to a higher percentage of obese individuals than the state as a whole.  It is important to note that Illinois is the sixth-worst state in the entire country when it comes to obesity.

·  Prevalence of Risky Behaviors:  Kids in the Tri-County region are increasingly using alcohol, tobacco and marijuana at earlier ages, and more area teenagers are using the substances than elsewhere in the state.  For example, in Peoria County, 33% of 12th graders are using marijuana, compared with 21% statewide.

·  Lack of Healthy Behaviors:  Only 15% of area residents exercise at least five times a week.  Less than five percent consume the minimum recommended servings of fruits and vegetables in a day.

·  Access to Healthcare for the Poor:  Only half of local residents living in deep poverty are seeking medical services at a clinic or doctor’s office.  Instead, they commonly seek medical services from an emergency department.

Hospitals are now looking at what programs they currently offer, hoping better match them to the need.

“We're going to take the next six to eight months or so to really understand where we're at with these programs so that we can prioritize our efforts and make sure that we're putting our resources where they'll do the most good,” said OSF St. Francis COO, Bob Anderson.

“That way we can have kind of synergism, and everybody really, even though there may be multiple programs the idea is to make all the programs fit together,” said UnityPoint Health – Methodist Dr. David Trachtenbarg, who helped with the study.

According to the new healthcare law, hospitals have to re-do this study every three years.
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