A community health needs assessment conducted for Carson Tahoe Health found key areas for improvement, including some areas in which Carson City and its surrounding neighbors appear to be losing ground.
The report produced by Professional Research Consultants Inc. is based on a 125-question survey of about 800 local respondents, including 338 people in Carson City, and input from 136 key stakeholders from area organizations as well as data from the Centers of Disease Control and elsewhere.
Some areas in which the capital area seemed to be falling behind include obesity, cancer screenings, and mental health.
“We’ve got a little work to do in Carson City,” said Mayor Bob Crowell, after a presentation on the report at Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center Wednesday.
Crowell said he was pleased with the hospital and its outreach to the community, and that city leaders’ role was to highlight the problems.
“Once we call attention to the issues, people stand up and go after them,” said Crowell.
The stakeholders surveyed for the report ranked the top three health issues as substance abuse, mental health and diabetes.
Other nagging problems include adult obesity, defined as having a body mass index of 30 or higher.
According to the survey of 800, adult obesity rose to 31.7 percent from 25.6 percent in 2010 in the primary service area, which includes Carson City, Douglas County, parts of Lyon County and small portions of Washoe County and California’s Alpine County.
For Carson City, 30.5 percent of adults are obese, based on the survey.
Infant mortality, too, jumped from 3.8 deaths per 1,000 live births in the service area in 2005-2007 to 8.1 deaths in 2012-2014, according to the CDC.
Diabetes, which took a dip to 9.8 percent of respondents in 2013, was reported by 12.7 percent of survey takers, slightly higher than the 12.4 percent reported in 2010.
About 14 percent of Carson City respondents were diabetic.
Some more subjective areas in which respondents assessed themselves were also worse than in previous years.
In the latest survey, 12.4 percent of respondents rated their mental health as fair or poor versus 8.6 percent in 2010, and 20.8 percent said their overall health was fair or poor, up from 15.6 percent six years ago.
Carson Tahoe Health commissions the assessment every three years as part of its tax requirements as a 501c3 non-profit organization.
But the goal for it is much broader.
“We’ve been doing this since, I think, 1999. We have been proactive in the past and built our growth strategies around it,” said Diane Rush, director of marketing at the hospital.
For example, the medical center in January started up a year-long class on pre-diabetes when it became clear that was a growing problem in the area, said Rush.
A couple years ago the healthcare provider launched screenings for peripheral vascular disease to combat heart disease.
The screenings are held in Carson City, Dayton, Minden, South Lake Tahoe and south Reno.
And next week the hospital will start offering 3-D mammography in Carson Tahoe Sierra Surgery.
The full community health needs assessment report will be available online in October.
To receive a copy before then, request one by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and include a physical mailing address.