‘Get Healthy Idaho’ assessment identifies top health priorities for Idaho

The Division of Public Health has released findings from a new comprehensive health assessment that identifies access to healthcare as the No. 1 issue for Idahoans. Other health priorities identified in the assessment won’t come as a surprise, and they include obesity, heart disease and stroke, vaccine-preventable diseases, exercise and suicide.

The assessment, titled “Get Healthy Idaho: Measuring and Improving Population Health,” consists of two parts. The first is the assessment itself. The second part is a five-year plan to improve the health of Idahoans based on the findings in the assessment. The assessment and health improvement plan are part of an in-depth effort across the division in pursuit of accreditation by the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB).  

“The ‘Get Healthy Idaho’ assessment is the most comprehensive assessment of the health of Idahoans in more than a decade,” said Elke Shaw-Tulloch, the administrator for the Division of Public Health and who is leading the efforts to become accredited. “This information provides the foundation for understanding the health of our residents and communities. The next phase, currently under way, is the Get Healthy Idaho Improvement Plan that focuses public health efforts across partnerships, toward specific priority areas. The intended outcome of “Get Healthy Idaho” is broader partnerships that work together to improve the health of all Idahoans.”

The assessment was completed with input from state and local public health agencies, healthcare systems, community-based organizations, higher education, rural health clinics, and statewide health associations.

“Get Healthy Idaho” will satisfy two of the prerequisites to being able to apply for accreditation, the assessment and the plan. The division is pursuing accreditation for quality improvement, standardization of business operations, improved accountability and access to more resources. The accreditation process is expected to take about two years, and reaccreditation would happen every five years after that.

Since the beginning of the health assessment work, Idaho applied for and received a grant to develop a State Healthcare Innovation Plan (SHIP) as well as a model testing grant to test the proposed innovation model to transform healthcare in Idaho. The work that Idaho will be doing over the next four years aims to improve healthcare, improve the health of the population and reduce healthcare costs will build on strengths, fill gaps and implement innovative change. Moving forward, it is anticipated that “Get Healthy Idaho” will serve as the foundation to satisfy both requirements for public health accreditation as well as the SHIP model test grant.

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