Community Needs Assessment
August 24, 2011
The Butte Silver Bow Public Health Department, in partnership with St. James Healthcare today released the 2011 Community Needs Assessment. The document is the result of more than a year of work by 32 local agencies and organizations and the nearly 100 individuals who participated in meetings and focus group sessions. The assessment reflects a county level data analysis as well as the expertise, wisdom and valued knowledge of the participants who represent all areas of public health and related services.
Butte-Silver Bow successfully applied for grant funding and in early 2010, embarked on a thorough community health assessment to help form local public health policy and priorities into the future. St. James Healthcare, recognizing the importance of this effort, partnered with Butte-Silver Bow and provided additional funding.
According to Terri Hocking, Director of the Public Health Department, the assessment is intended to serve as a tool for determining ways in which lives can be improved for citizens of Silver Bow County through prevention programming and collaborative initiatives. The information contained in the document will serve as a foundation for a Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) for the Health Department and will ultimately help direct public resources to areas of greatest need.
“This could not have been accomplished without a strong partnership between St. James Healthcare and the Butte-Silver Bow Public Health Department or without help from the scores of agency personnel who contributed both time and information,” said Hocking. “Now the work really begins as the Health Department, St. James Healthcare, and all the service agencies in Butte continue to work together to find solutions for identified issues.”
The report addresses issues related the aging population, socio-economic conditions, social and behavioral factors and environmental factors, as well as general health indicators for Butte-Silver Bow.
A partial list of key findings in the assessment includes the following:
• The leading cause of death in Butte-Silver Bow County is heart disease. The associated county death rate of 256.8 per 100,000 population far exceeds the state death rate of 198.3 per 100,000 population.
• Senior citizens comprise 16.9% of the Butte-Silver Bow’s population and by 2025, they will comprise 25%.
• The poverty rate is 15.8% (higher than the state and national rates), 37% of the population is at or below 200% of the federal poverty line and 15% of the population has health care costs covered by Medicaid.
• Air quality is negatively affected by wood burning as a source of heat and the increase in auto emissions associated with longer commutes to work and to service centers.
• Negative social behaviors, including a high crime rate, high rate of domestic violence, norms favorable toward substance abuse, a high rate of poverty and high poverty neighborhoods present a high risk for unhealthy child development.
• Between 1997 and 2006, the number of people served by the Western Montana Mental Health Center in Butte-Silver Bow increased by 162%. The number served indicates the rate of mental illness is approximately 4.3% of the population.
A complete copy of the Health Assessment can be found on the Department’s website at www.bsb.mt.gov.