Public Health System Assessment
Maintaining public health is an integral part of vital communities and can be made possible if communities are prepared to support and reinforce their public health system. But poor economic conditions, ensuring equal access to healthcare and contending with disadvantaged social consequences make it more difficult for providers to deliver needed public health services. The problem is often exasperated by the fact that little or no baseline understanding exists of how various inter-related, but independent, systems coordinate, share priorities, or function as it relates to improving overall public health.
What is the goal?
To examine the strengths and opportunities that exist within Sacramento County’s health systems that influence public health and to improve the ability of those systems to work cohesively. Findings from this Public Health System Assessment identified the gaps that exist, where investment is needed, and the assets that can be leveraged in order to optimize public health in Sacramento County.
Why is this important?
A strong public health system that minimizes the spread of disease, diminishes health hazards, and reduces risky behaviors will lead to longer, healthier lives for all residents.
What is Valley Vision doing about it?
Valley Vision partnered with Sacramento County Division of Public Health to assess the capacity and efficacy of the public health system in Sacramento County. Through a comprehensive audit we defined the components, activities, competencies, capacities and deficiencies of the public health system. The research Valley Vision conducted—largely through focus groups with strategic stakeholders—helped determine how effectively essential public health services are being met. As proscribed by the National Association of City and County Health Officials, the 10 essential public health services are:
- Monitor health status to identify and solve community health problems.
- Diagnose and investigate health problems and health hazards in the community.
- Inform, educate, and empower people about health issues.
- Mobilize community partnerships and action to identify and solve health problems.
- Develop policies and plans that support individual and community health efforts.
- Enforce laws and regulations that protect health and ensure safety.
- Link people to needed personal health services and assure the provision of health care when otherwise unavailable.
- Assure competent public and personal health care workforce.
- Evaluate effectiveness, accessibility, and quality of personal and population-based health services.
What was our impact?
Through research findings and subsequent recommendations, the Local Public Health System Assessment is furthering a cohesive and effective healthcare delivery ecosystem for Sacramento County that provides access to the health services that residents need and deserve.
How does this effort affect triple-bottom-line objectives?
Economy: The Public Health System Needs Assessment examines how effectively the public health system implements essential service to keep the community safe and healthy. A safe and healthy community is necessary to maintaining a thriving economy and workforce, including attracting businesses and individuals needed to grow our economy.
Environment: Included in the Public Health System Needs Assessment is examination of the policies and enforcement of regulations in place to promote environmental health. A community’s physical health and its environmental health are entwined.
Equity: Not only does the Public Health System Assessment consider how effectively all people are connected to and have access to personal and public health care services, but this particular assessment added an additional essential public health service specifically directed at equity. The essential service is defined as, “Fostering health equity by ensuring all people full and equal access to opportunities that enable them to lead healthy lives.” In assessing this essential service, intentional effort is being taken to consider how specific socioeconomic and demographic segments of the community may be less effectively served than others.
The Public Health System Assessment began in August 2015 and concluded in Summer of 2016.