Asthma and smoking are two areas of health concern in southeastern Baltimore County that MedStar Health Franklin Square wants to increase its focus in the future.

MedStar Health’s 2012 Community Health Assessment, released last week, identified community health needs for its service area. The health assessment is a systemwide effort to create a more organized, formal and systemic approach to meeting the needs of communities.

Findings from data analysis noted the following:

Heart disease was consistently identified as a priority for all of MedStar’s acute hospitals. Diabetes and obesity also were high priorities for MedStar hospitals.

“In addition to heart disease, diabetes and obesity, two of the acute hospitals identified unique priorities based on their needs assessment, coupled with existing goals or efforts with community partners.

“MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital selected substance abuse to align with existing county priorities. MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center identified substance abuse and asthma due to its existing partnership with the Southeastern Network Collaborative and Baltimore County Public Schools.”

The 41-page assessment said the population of MedStar Franklin Square’s Community Benefit Service Area is 271,230. The weighted average annual household income in the CBSA is $47,241, compared to $63,279 in Baltimore County as a whole.

The assessment was created through available healthcare statistics, existing services and community input (in-person interviews with citizens plus 226 additional surveys completed online or in person.)

Unique Priorities

The report identified reasons why MedStar Franklin Square selected, in addition to heart disease, diabetes and obesity, two unique priorities of concern:

“At 21.9 percent, the percentage of children diagnosed with asthma is higher than any surrounding county and higher than the state percentage (16.4 percent). This statistic translates into missed days of school, limitations on daily activities, visits to the emergency departments for treatment of asthma symptoms and hospitals.”

Also, “registration for free tobacco cessation programs at MedStar Franklin Square is frequently so low that programs are cancelled. The current adult smoking rate in Maryland is 15.2 percent. The current adult smoking rate in Baltimore is 15.6 percent.”

In response to the asthma priority, the report said MedStar Franklin will work with Baltimore County Public Schools to “improve the quality of asthma care for children in the 51 BCPS schools in the CBSA through standardized management plans and spacer availability.” The targeted population is children who attend Deep Creek Elementary School, Golden Ring Middle School and Kenwood High School, the report said.

In response to the tobacco abuse priority, the report said MedStar Franklin Square will “increase the awareness of the public, providers and policy makers in the CBSA about available tobacco and other substance abuse prevention, education and support programs resources.” The targeted population is adults who live and/or work in the CBSA, the report said.

Samuel E. Moskowitz, FACHE, president of MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center, said the assessment would help the medical center meet the community’s needs and meet its own mission.

“MedStar’s Community Health Assessment effort is a valuable tool to allow us to better identify the specific healthcare needs of the diverse community we serve,” Moskowitz said. “It will help guide MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center in providing specific services to better our community’s health and, in doing so, meet the nonprofit, community hospital mission we have. 

“The Community Assessment also helps us to build partnerships with organizations like the Baltimore County Public School system so that together we can work to effectively address the overall health and wellness of those in our community who look to us.  We look forward to sharing the results of these efforts in a measurable and tangible way in the months ahead.”

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