Mount Nittany Health continues to advance its mission of healthier people, stronger community with the launch of the 2022 Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA). The CHNA is a county-wide study, incorporating input from a cross-section of local partners, stakeholders and public health experts to identify critical strategies to improve community health.
"It's a privilege to serve the community as the leader of the largest healthcare provider in the region, 120 years in the making. Our commitment to extraordinary compassionate care and clinical excellence is unwavering — the CHNA is yet another way we seek to care for the communities that we serve," states Kathleen Rhine, president and CEO, Mount Nittany Health.
Mount Nittany Health's first CHNA was conducted in 2013, with subsequent CHNAs performed every three years since then – recognizing that the healthcare needs of the regional community continue to evolve.
"We are interested in listening carefully and learning from our neighbors and community partners to address the health needs facing our region," said Rhine. "COVID showed us that we truly are all in this together. Knowing that, an integral part of the CHNA process is community engagement. As we begin our research, we are requesting input from community representatives to inform local health needs and opportunities for improvement."
Beyond the visible improvements Mount Nittany Health makes to its physical infrastructure – building or departmental expansions ¬– Mount Nittany Health invests in the communities we serve through our robust community benefit program, including free care and comprehensive support for health and wellness programs and activities, among other initiatives.
This kind of commitment to community helped carve a path for Mount Nittany Health to better collaborate with community partners, such as Centre Volunteers in Medicine, the Children's Advocacy Center of Centre County, Mount Nittany Health, and CANCER CARE PARTNERSHIP – a partnership between Mount Nittany Health and Penn State Cancer Institute. Mount Nittany Health also supports programs at the Jana Marie Foundation, Mid-State Literacy Council, Strawberry Fields, Inc., YMCA of Centre County and the Youth Service Bureau, which address specific findings from the 2019 Community Health Needs Assessment.
To gain a better understanding of health needs across the communities that Mount Nittany Health serves, the health system's leadership has collaborated with key individuals and organizations in a series of ongoing virtual Advisory Council meetings to provide perspectives and comments on a wide spectrum of health issues facing the region, including the impact of social determinants on health.
In all, 34 community partners, including Centre Foundation, Centre County Government and Centre County United Way, among others listed here, are collaborating to identify ways to improve health and wellness throughout the region:
- CATA - Centre Area Transportation Authority
- Center for Community Resources Crisis Intervention
- Centre Care
- Centre County Government
- Centre County Library and Historical Museum
- Centre County United Way
- Centre Foundation
- Centre Helps
- Centre Region Council of Government
- Centre Regional Planning Agency
- Centre Safe
- Centre Volunteers in Medicine
- ClearWater Conservancy
- Community Diversity Group
- Community member – Lydia Abdullah
- Congregation Brit Shalom
- Crossroads Counseling Inc.
- James E. Van Zandt Altoona VA Medical Center
- Kish Bank
- Leadership Centre County
- Mid-State Literacy Council, Inc.
- Mount Nittany Health Foundation
- Nurse - Family Partnership / UPMC HHC Central PA
- Pyramid Healthcare, Inc
- Senator Jake Corman
- St. Paul's United Methodist Church & Wesley Foundation
- State College Area School District
- State College Food Bank
- Strawberry Fields Inc.
- The Meadows Psychiatric Center
- YMCA of Centre County
- Youth Service Bureau (YSB)
"We are working with our partners in a comprehensive, thoughtful and deliberate way to develop collaborative action plans for residents across Centre County to create healthier people and a stronger community," said Rhine.
Local organizations interested in participating in the CHNA factfinding effort are invited to contact Jeannine Lozier, manager, community health and outreach, Mount Nittany Health at email@example.com for more information.
According to the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, Centre County is ranked as the second healthiest county among all 67 counties across the Commonwealth. Health indicators, however, are not uniform across Centre County and, moreover, vary significantly across the County – creating a demand for services to address gaps in care.
For example, Mount Nittany Health's most recent CHNA in 2019 revealed:
- Centre County adults report an average of four poor mental health days per month, which is an increase from three days reported at the time of the 2016 CHNA.
- Smoking among youth declined to less than 4%, but nearly 1 in 10 youth report vaping, indicating a shift from traditional cigarette use to e-cigarette use.
- Rural school district students experience greater behavioral health and substance use disorder needs as indicated by higher smoking, depression, and alcohol use rates.
"While the CHNA cannot solve every challenge uncovered, it will enable us to map disparities with more specificity so we can better plan, predict, manage and mitigate some of the ill health effects and adverse outcomes impacting our population," said Rhine. "By working with a broad section of the community, we hope to obtain even richer data to benefit organizations individually and collectively."
Mount Nittany Health had 13,000 admissions last year and averages 50,000 emergency room visits annually. Mount Nittany Health is a multi-year awardee for the comprehensive five star-rated healthcare system by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' (CMS) Five-Star Quality Rating System and Mount Nittany Medical Center is ranked as a 2021 Newsweek World's Best Hospital.
The continued success of Mount Nittany Health is due in part to the support received through community partners along with individual contributions to the Mount Nittany Health Foundation where every tax-deductible gift is instrumental in advancing current programs and implementing new ones for improving healthcare across the region. Community participation is strongly encouraged through volunteer and financial support.
To learn more about our community health efforts and the CHNA, visit mountnittany.org/about-us/community-health-needs-assessment.