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U-M Health System issues report on local community health needs, and plan to address them

Findings will help guide community outreach strategies and coordination with others

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — A new report issued by the University of Michigan Health System shows the most pressing health needs of the local community, and lays out a plan for UMHS to help address them through a broad range of local initiatives. 

The new Community Health Needs Assessment and Implementation Plan, available at, helps UMHS fulfill the requirements of the federal health care reform law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or PPACA.

The report captures many of the programs and services UMHS already offers to the 345,000 residents of Washtenaw County and beyond, while also describing new efforts. Going forward, the Implementation Plan will help UMHS measure how well community-focused efforts are achieving their goals.

The UMHS team that prepared the report worked together with representatives from the county’s two other hospitals – Saint Joseph Mercy – Ann Arbor and Chelsea Community Hospital – the Washtenaw County Public Health Department, and many community organizations to conduct the community health needs assessment and review the data. Each health system based its assessment of the community’s health needs in part on the Health Improvement Plan Survey, conducted by the county every five years since 1995, and data from state and federal sources. This resulted in a coordinated approach that will best serve the community. It will be updated every three years.

The seven priority areas for UMHS community health efforts are:

  • Access to care
  • Mental health
  • Substance abuse
  • Obesity
  • Pre-conceptual and perinatal health
  • Immunizations
  • Child abuse and neglect

Going forward, UMHS will continue and increase its commitment to serving these community needs through efforts such as:

Plans to assess and then build capacity around preventing and treating obesity within UMHS, and a similar joint obesity effort with other local health entities, will launch soon.

The community health improvement efforts laid out in the plan may also help reduce emergency department visits and hospital re-admission rates, by preventing illness and disease in the first place and potentially addressing the links between socio-economic status and health status.

“The changing health care environment means that we and other care providers need to work harder to help create communities, policies, and societal norms that make health-conscious choices easier for all,” says Tony Denton, chief operating officer of the U-M Hospitals & Health Centers. “This report and plan will guide us as we work to do just that.”

For more about the community service UMHS provides to Washtenaw County and the entire state of Michigan, visit .

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