Throughout the month of July 2019 the Massillon City Health Department conducted a survey of Massillon Citizens to determine gaps and needs in the health system of the Massillon community. The survey link was published multiple times on both the Massillon Health Department and the City of Massillon Facebook page as well as the Health Department's website. The Massillon Independent posted an article in print and on-line with the survey link available. The survey link was also emailed to all Board of Health members, city leaders, and all recipients of the Massillon Health Department’s quarterly newsletter.
Total number of responses were 134, responses were electronically gathered through Google Survey. Data was also received from a focus group of senior citizens held in conjunction with a “Matter of Balance” class. These responses were delivered on paper.
Our respondents were aged 26- 80 years old. The largest percentage of citizens surveyed, (84%), had a high school diploma or higher degree. 73% were married, 94.4% were employed or retired, and 81% owned their homes. Transportation did not appear to be a concern, as 93.2% owned a vehicle.
Some of the most concerning issues raised by the survey were:
- 21.5% of smokers were interested in quitting.
- 80.3% of responders considered the use of heroin, fentanyl, and opioids to be a serious
concern in the community.
- 42% of people keep unused medications in case they are needed in the future.
- 71.4% considered infant mortality to be a health issue in Massillon.
- 22% had them or a family member that had difficulty obtaining needed mental health services.
- 33.3% do no exercise
- 79.5% consider themselves overweight.
- 50.4% did not get a flu shot in the past year.
The following Chronic Diseases were concerns:
- Diabetes 58.3%
- Arthritis 52.4%
- Heart Disease 47.6%
- Cancer 47.6%
- Asthma 32.1%
- Stroke 21.4%
- Alzheimer’s 11.9%
- Kidney Disease 10.7%
- Lower Respiratory Diseases 10.7%
MASSILLON SENIOR CITIZENS
Our senior citizens focus group showed very similar results. We had 17 seniors that responded to our survey questions and participated in our improvement discussions.
The following chronic diseases were listed as concerns:
- High blood pressure 53%
- Heart disease 41%
- Arthritis 41%
- Diabetes 29%
- Cancer 29%
- Asthma 24%
- Stroke 18%
- Kidney disease 12%
Seniors listed high out-of-pocket costs and transportation problems to be the biggest barriers to getting needed health services. They also considered low income citizens to have the most difficult time getting health care.
MASSILLON HISPANIC POPULATION
A statistic that is unique to the Massillon City Health department is that 20% of our clients for our nursing and WIC divisions are Hispanic, both English speaking and Spanish or regional languages. County Health Rankings and the Stark County Census report showed that the county statistics for Hispanic citizens was only 2% of the total population. This provides a challenge to our staff to make sure we offer equitable services and opportunities to these citizens.
To address the issues that arise from language differences the Health Department has engaged a teacher to teach the staff Spanish language lessons once per month.
MCHD has also contracted with Vocalink for translation services by phone, conference call, and document translation. This service provides clients with immediate 24-hour translation services for Spanish and many other languages as needed.
MAIN AREAS OF CONCERN
The results of this survey and seniors focus group showed gaps in the health care system in the Massillon community. The needs of this community very closely correspond to the deficits in health care in the state and Stark County community needs assessments. The areas of concern were:
- Infant mortality- 71.4% of citizens considered maternal and infant health to be a concern.
- Mental health- 80.3% considered drug abuse to be a problem. 42% didn’t know a safe way to dispose of unused medications. 22% cited difficulty in obtaining mental health services. 20% of clients served by our Health department speak little or no English.
- Chronic disease and healthy lifestyles- 21.5% of responders were interested in quitting smoking. 79.5% consider themselves to be overweight. 50.4% of citizens did not get a flu shot in the past year. Chronic diseases of concern were diabetes and high blood pressure, among others.
As a result of the above data and in collaboration with the Stark County Community Health Assessment the Massillon City Health Department staff, have made it a priority to address these issues and consider ways of improving the quality, equity, and availability of these health care concerns. Solutions will be addressed in the Stark County Community Health Improvement Plan and the Massillon City Health Improvement Plan.
In addition to the resources listed in the Stark County Community Health Assessment, Massillon has local valuable resources to consider in overcoming these issues.
Recreation and Physical Activity:
- Outdoor walking trails including both the Ohio Erie Canal Towpath Trail and the Sippo Valley trail along with Massillon City parks and recreational areas.
- Massillon Recreation Center.
- Massillon YMCA.
Medical needs for income challenged citizens:
- Lifecare, a Federally Qualified Health Care Center
- Pregnancy Choices
- Health Department
Mental Health Services:
- Stark MHAR offers mental health services and cultural competency training
- Massillon City Administration in collaboration with all Massillon schools both public and private promote an ongoing kindness campaign.
- Local CommQuest agencies
- Buddy Benches in all school playgrounds to encourage support and anti-bullying
- Massillon Heath Department is a referral site for Baby and Me-Tobacco Free, THRIVE and Moms and Babies First
- Cribs for Kids and THRIVE car seat distribution site located within the Massillon City Health Department.