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Health Assessment of Community

One-third of Jackson County is uninsured or receives Medicaid; representing one of the highest percentages of population in surrounding counties.
The Greater Kansas City Area's health status is comparable to national benchmarks but with more profound racial disparities between African American and white residents than are observed nationally. 
  • Infant mortality rates exceeded the national average.
  • The proportion of low and very low birth weight births were 30 and 44 percent higher.
  • The admission rate and days of care for respiratory system disorders and cardiovascular disease far exceeded national benchmarks.

African Americans are more likely to lose years of life due to chronic conditions, and experience worse maternal and child health outcomes than white residents; these disparities are more pronounced than national benchmarks.
When looking at statistics for specifically Jackson County, it is clear that these health issues are of particular concern for the residents: 

  • Pregnant women in Jackson County are significantly more likely to receive no or inadequate prenatal care when compared to the statewide average; the percentage of low birth weight infants and infant mortality rates in Jackson county are also significantly higher.
  • The hospital admission rate for asthma in Jackson County is 16.8 per 10,000, compared to 13.3 statewide; the racial disparity among asthma sufferers is also pronounced, 13 percent of African Americans have asthma compared to 10 percent of whites.
  • The overall heart disease mortality rate for Jackson County was notably higher than the overall U.S. rate.

These data indicate an ongoing need for access to primary care and coordinated access to specialty care, especially for those suffering from chronic conditions.
Safety net clinics and exam rooms are not distributed across the Jackson county area in the same pattern that the uninsured and medically underserved are distributed. This means that, in some areas, the uninsured and medically underserved have a more difficult time accessing safety net services. For example, to serve all uninsured or Medicare recipients, Jackson County safety net rooms would need to see 1,316 patients per year.
Wait times at safety net rooms are long, indicating that clinics are at capacity and it is impairing access to care. Additionally, the ratio of safety net primary care doctors is much lower than the ratio of all primary care doctors to the overall population. There are 10,314 people for every safety net primary care doctor compared to 751 people for every general primary care doctor. As a result the uninsured are visiting emergency rooms instead of safety net clinics. This equates to 13.7 percent of the population accounting for 22 percent of all emergency room visits.
Emergency room data indicates that there is a need for weekend and evening primary care services; however, there is a lack of safety net services available during these times. A contributor to this is the lack of adequate staffing to provide care on evenings and weekends. The total percentage of safety net hours available in the evenings is only 3.6 percent and only 2 percent of hours are on the weekends.

Click here to view the St. Joseph Medical Center Community Health Needs Assessment

Click here to view the St. Mary's Medical Center Community Health Needs Assessment.

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