Concerned About Healthcare Issues in Citrus County?

August 23, 2023




Citrus County Chronicle

You can be instrumental in solving some big issues that have plagued Citrus County for years. Don’t believe it? Review the just-released Community Health Needs Assessment’s strategic priority issues, then join the Community Health Improvement Partnership committee working on the topic most important to you. This assessment is not just about “health” in the clinical sense.

The Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) has been conducted over a number of years, so there’s history. As before, the CHNA was done by WellFlorida Council, the north central Florida health planning council serving 15 counties. This year the lead agency here was the Citrus County Community Charitable Foundation, in partnership with the Florida Department of Health in Citrus County. The local volunteer steering committee represents a cross-section of county interests.

The CHNA, conducted according to a nationally recognized methodology, includes input from the public at large, plus from specific areas: key leaders; faith-based groups; physicians; and representatives from a variety of human service organizations. Surveys, focus groups, interviews and meetings were held in 2022 and 2023. The resulting report is available now on the website.

The assessment covers health outcomes as well as factors affecting them. Distressingly, the strategic priority areas in this year’s report are similar to those from previous years: healthcare providers, mental health care, substance use, affordable and safe housing, and effective communication. These are the areas in which, if Citrus County could make significant progress, the community’s health and well-being could show dramatic improvement.

The focus of action to address these areas is the Community Health Improvement Partnership (CHIP) and its committees. The CHIP committees have been working all along and have a number of successes to their credit, but it’s like the tail wagging the dog. Until county residents elevate these issues and act in a coordinated way, widespread success will be elusive.

That’s where one of the strategic priority areas – effective communication – comes into play. Citrus County is fortunate to have many helping-hand organizations, but people generally are not aware of what’s available or where to call. The organizations do not know what others are offering, so there is a great deal of duplication, and a notable absence of “no wrong door” operations.

Wouldn’t it be great to make one phone call and find out where you can get the help you need? United Way of Citrus County has taken the lead on improvements in this critically important focus area. We urge all organizations offering assistance of any kind to contact United Way, and all others to support their efforts.

Several strategic priority issues have shared root causes and related contributing factors, so they could be addressed by common strategies. Everyone just has to talk to each other about them. We hope the new Community Health Needs Assessment forms the basis of that conversation.

Read the online article.

Back to News page
Post by jill.dygert

Comments are closed.