LAKE HAVASU CITY – Supervisor Buster Johnson, Mohave County Public Health Director Patty Mead, and representatives from various organizations and government entities were among 30 individuals who made up a working Advisory Committee tasked with helping to put together and develop the Lake Havasu City’s Regional Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP). The Health Plan was a collaborated effort put on through a partnership with Kingman Regional Medical Center and the Mohave County Health Department that took three years to complete and will be re-evaluated and re-done every three years from here on out. “The main goal of CHIP is to identify the top health needs of our community and work towards improving them,” Supervisor Buster Johnson stated. The topics identified by the Advisory Committee that were included in the 2018 CHIP were: substance abuse, mental health, and access to health care and social services.
When it comes to substance abuse in the Lake Havasu City region, the committee picked two objectives to aim for by 2020. “Substance abuse is a very broad topic. In order to actually make a difference in the community, the committee chose two areas to focus on in order to obtain real results,” Johnson stated. The first objection is to decrease by 20% the reported substance abuse among youth by 2020. In order to obtain this goal, a select group of individuals will be tasked with determining the current use and impact of expulsions as a disciplinary action in Lake Havasu regional schools. The group will research the impact Lake Havasu City’s current drug prevention program, NOVA, is having, as well as working with school administration to revise current substance abuse explosion policies and procedures. The other objection chosen was to increase by 10% access to and utilization of substance abuse treatment services for first time offenders.
When it comes to mental health care providers in Mohave County, the ratio of residents to providers is an incredible 1420 to 1. With these statistics, the Advisory Committee chose to make their first objective under the Mental Health care priority to be an increase in the recruitment and retention of mental health professionals serving the Lake Havasu City region by 5% in two years. In order to accomplish this, the Mohave County Department of Public Health will be the lead organization to conduct a mental health provider assessment for the region which will provide a mental health care network map. Once that is completed, the working group will collaborate with Havasu Regional Medical Center to develop mental health care provider recruitment plans that align with a possible loan repayment program for those who chose to move to our community to provide mental health services.
The third priority selected was access to health care and social services. The Advisory Committee agreed that there are a number of low or no cost services available to city residents; however, they are rarely promoted or publicized. Due to this, the Committee made their number one objection to be to increase awareness of community based health care and social services by ten percent by 2020. To accomplish this, the Committee discussed investigating emergency technology options such as Arizona 2-1-1 which currently serves as an online directory for community information and referral services across Arizona.
The first CHIP was published in 2014 by the Mohave County Health Department in partnership with Kingman Regional Medical Center (KRMC). The two entities formed a partnership to share project management responsibilities and costs in conducting a community health assessment with the mission of creating the CHIP. Quarterly meetings will be held with the members of the Advisory Committee to ensure the priorities and objectives are carried. The next meeting for the Havasu area will be in August at the Lake Havasu City Senior Center.
For those interested in reading the full Community Health Improvement Plan, please visit: https://resources.mohavecounty.us/file/PublicHealth/HealthELinks/Admin/CHIP%202018%20LHC.pdf
If anyone is interested in being a part of any upcoming meetings involving CHIP, please contact the Mohave County Health Department at 928-753-0748.
Article By BUSTER JOHNSON