William Footman of Normal has his blood pressure checked by Karley Licking, a student intern working on a bachelor's degree in public health, at the Community Health Care Clinic in Normal on April 18. Footman is among patients assisted by an innovative pilot program that connects emergency department patients in need with primary care providers to manage their chronic health conditions.

BLOOMINGTON — Health care providers in McLean County want your help in determining and prioritizing the county's health needs.

A community health needs assessment is conducted every three years to identify the county's health needs. It is followed by a Community Health Improvement Plan to address those needs.

As part of the upcoming community health needs assessment, a survey is available for McLean County residents.

OSF HealthCare St. Joseph Medical Center, Advocate BroMenn Medical Center, the McLean County Health Department and Chestnut Health Systems ask county residents to take 10 minutes to complete the survey. Responses will be kept confidential.

Paper copies are available at Chestnut Family Health Center, 720 W. Chestnut St.; Chestnut Health Systems, 1003 Martin Luther King Drive; and the health department, 200 W. Front St., all in Bloomington.

Surveys will be available until Aug. 31.

Traditionally, the health department, BroMenn and St. Joseph completed separate community health needs assessments. They decided in 2016 that a joint effort would be better.

McLean County's first joint community health needs assessment was completed in August 2016. That identified mental illness and substance abuse, lack of access to health care among people in some areas of Bloomington and obesity as the top three county health needs.

McLean County's first joint Community Health Improvement Plan to address those needs was approved in February 2017.

A first-year progress report earlier this year highlighted progress in addressing those needs, including more counselors in schools; more mental health first aid training; increasing the capacity of health clinics that serve the poor; a Community Health Care Clinic and hospital program helping emergency department patients to get primary care; establishing a Food Farmacy at Home Sweet Home Ministries for community clinic patients; and St. Joseph and BroMenn distributing food from their community gardens to the clinic and to Home Sweet Home.

The upcoming community health needs assessment will be McLean County's second, three-year, joint health needs assessment.

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Contact Paul Swiech at (309) 820-3275. Follow him on Twitter: @pg_swiech


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