Phoebe Completes New Community Health Needs Assessment

Staff Report From Albany CEO

Friday, July 12th, 2019

The Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital board of directors Wednesday approved updated community health priorities following a rigorous evaluation of the area’s most pressing public health issues.  As a not-for-profit hospital, Phoebe undertakes a community health needs assessment (CHNA) every three years to identify health problems Phoebe should take an active leadership role in trying to solve.
“Our staff spent the last 10 months analyzing the most up-to-date public health data for the Albany area and meeting with community leaders to get their input.  We worked to narrow our priorities to focus on the greatest needs and the problems on which we believe we can have the most positive impact,” said Joe Austin, Phoebe Chief Operating Officer.
The priorities that Phoebe and community partners will focus on during the next three years are:

1.    Improving birth outcomes and reproductive responsibility

2.    Preventing and managing diabetes

3.    Cancer prevention and treatment

4.    Behavioral health and addictive disease advocacy
“Three of our priorities remain largely the same, and we will continue projects aimed at improving outcomes related to those priorities,” Austin said.  “We decided to add cancer to our priority list this year because our region has unusually high rates for multiple types of cancer, and we believe coordinated public education and wellness campaigns could help improve those rates.”
Cervical cancer is one example that will be a focus of efforts over the next three years.  According to the National Cancer Institute, Dougherty County has one of the highest cervical cancer incidence rates in the country; however, 90% of all cervical cancer caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) could be wiped out through vaccine treatment recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“As the primary provider of healthcare services in our area, Phoebe has a responsibility not only to continue to expand access to quality care, but to work diligently to help the people we serve focus on their own health and wellness so they can live happier and healthier lives,” said Scott Steiner, Phoebe President & CEO.
Over the next three years, Phoebe will seek out and work with multiple community partners to develop and implement programs to address the priorities approved Wednesday by the board.
“We look forward to continuing the work of task forces formed following our last community health needs assessment and devoting more resources to cancer prevention over the next several years,” Steiner said.  “The Phoebe Cancer Center is a special place, and we certainly have the talent, technology and commitment necessary to make a true difference in the incidence and treatment of cancer in our region.”