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Southern Nevada officials present community health improvement plan

Boosting access to health care, preventing chronic diseases and funding for the public health system are priorities for the first multiagency community health improvement plan for Clark County, presented Wednesday morning.

The plan, which identifies health priorities and goals for Southern Nevada’s population and offers strategies to improve locals’ health, was detailed before a group of about 100 people, many from involved agencies, at the Clark County Government Center.

The document was created in a collaboration between the Southern Nevada Health District, fire departments, law enforcement agencies, educational institutions, private citizens, charitable organizations and more.

“The Community Health Improvement Plan provides a comprehensive work plan for public health and its partners and stakeholders to dig in and eliminate health disparities in our community,” Dr. Joseph Iser, the health district’s chief health officer, said in a statement.

The plan focuses on three priorities: access to health care and human services; preventing chronic diseases; and informed policy making and funding for the public health system. It is expected to be implemented through 2019.

Involved groups spent about two years investigating local public health issues. Health district workers and others then narrowed the collected data to create goals and strategies.

The document suggests tackling chronic diseases by advocating for increased physical activity and healthy diets in Southern Nevada’s population. It also emphasizes the need to shrink smoking rates and soda intake.

Specific measures included increasing access to trails, bolstering partnership programs with the Clark County School District and implementing online campaigns for health awareness.

In a 2015 needs assessment, Nevadans identified the state’s greatest health concern as “obesity, physical activity and nutrition,” according to the plan.

The health improvement plan also suggests implementing a community nurse call line that can accept nonemergency health-related phone calls that now go to 911.

The health district pledged to determine where health care coverage gaps exist by counting providers, including doctors, by ZIP code in Clark County.

The plan aims to develop systems to steer locals to appropriate health care services, increase insurance coverage and boost public awareness of public health funding issues.

Community health assessments and community health improvement plans are required for health departments to be accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, according to the health district. The district is seeking accreditation.

Contact Pashtana Usufzy at pusufzy@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4563. Follow @pashtana_u on Twitter.

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