In conjunction with the proposed redesign of Brooklyn’s Health Care System the Community Health Planning Workgroup (CPHW), a consortium of community stakeholders, healthcare providers and community health planners, today released The Need for Caring in North and Central Brooklyn, A Community Health Needs Assessment, sponsored by The Brooklyn Hospital Center, the I M Foundation, and the New York State Department of Health. The Community Health Needs Assessment, conducted by the Brooklyn Perinatal Network, the Commission on the Public’s Health System, and New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, sheds additional light on North and Central Brooklyn residents’ perception of the needs, gaps and barriers to care in their communities.
“In order to improve delivery of healthcare in Brooklyn, we needed to look at what exists and where it falls short, especially with regard to primary and specialty care access for low-income patients with common but significant illnesses,” says Dr. Richard Becker, President and CEO of The Brooklyn Hospital Center. “This study provides important insight into how we can better focus our resources to help Brooklyn residents who continue to have difficulty receiving basic primary care.”
“The experience of this project partnership that resulted in this CHNA Report ‑ The Need for Caring in North and Central Brooklyn ‑ has been in every way unique, refreshing and ground breaking. It indicates that a paradigm shift is occurring in the way information is secured to inform our healthcare system delivery planning,” said principal investigator Ngozi Moses, Executive Director of the Brooklyn Perinatal Network.
The report covers 15 zip codes, including Bedford Stuyvesant, Bushwick, Brownsville, Crown Heights, Cypresss Hills, East Flatbush, East New York, Flatbush, Fort Greene, Prospect Heights, Williamsburg, Downtown Brooklyn, Gowanus and Greenpoint, and addresses key findings, focus group results, and recommendations.
Field surveys and focus groups were used to capture the voices of the community. Community residents completed over 600 surveys, and 79 residents participated in nine focus groups targeting groups underrepresented in the survey sample, including teens; individuals with disabilities; Spanish speakers receiving mental health services; immigrants; men aged 18-35 and 45-55; senior citizens; pregnant women; and LGBTQ individuals.
Following the completion of the Community Health Needs Assessment, listening sessions were held to solicit community input and feedback concerning the findings.
Among the key findings:
- The report found the most common illnesses/health conditions among residents surveyed were high blood pressure/hypertension (24.8%), followed by asthma (19.9%); diabetes (15.7%); and hearing or vision problems (15.2%).
- 85% of respondents said that it would be most convenient to receive care in their neighborhood; almost 20% of the sample (18.7%) received none of their care in their community.
- 50% of residents surveyed said they or members of their household had visited an emergency room in the past two years.
- When asked which healthcare services households had difficulty accessing in their neighborhood, 100% of respondents said a dentist.
- Half of respondents had a limited ability to secure health care services. When asked why, 48% said barriers to health care included quality of care, culture and language differences, hours of service and attitudes of providers; 19.8% said insurance issues or lack of insurance; 23.1% said long waits for or at appointments; and 9.1% said cost of care.
“We are really pleased to have had the opportunity to ensure that the community’s voice is a driving factor in how healthcare is delivered and look forward to the healthcare planning developments that come from the CHNA process. We are hopeful that our process will serve as a model way to meet the needs of communities being served,” said Shena Elrington of New York Lawyers for the Public Interest who served as co-lead partner in the development of the report.
The report concluded with approximately 15 critical recommendations to improve healthcare in Brooklyn. These included addressing accessibility; improving screening, outreach, cultural and linguistic competency, patient-centered care, and customer service training; providing extended hours for primary care; increasing awareness and access to low-coast health services/insurance; providing financial support of efforts by grassroots community-based organizations (CBOs) to promote community resources; coordinating a network of health care and social service providers; engaging community residents; targeting services to focus on particular illnesses and communities; increasing access to specific health care services; working with Access-A-Ride to address transportation issues; increasing the number of providers who accept public health insurance; and increasing availability and access to mental health services.
To see a copy of The Need for Caring in North and Central Brooklyn, visit http://www.tbh.org/brooklynhealthcaresystem.