December 2, 2019

Southeast Washington Health Partnership Local Health Improvement Network Update

Jac Davies

The members of the Southeast Washington Health Partnership (SEWAHP) have been working hard to identify common health priorities across the Columbia, Garfield and Asotin County region and to begin developing programs to address those priorities. Under the guidance of Steve Smith from the Spokane Regional Health District, the group used a structured process to select the top five health priorities for the region: 1) overweight youth; 2) immunization; 3) substance use; 4) bullying, and 5) access to health care. Now they are working through a Results Based Accountability Framework to define strategies and actions for addressing each priority.
 
The SEWAHP has also been looking at the availability and capacity of telehealth and care coordination resources in the region, as part of a Rural Health Network Development Planning grant they received from the Health Resources and Services Administration in July. The goal for this work is to develop a common plan for strengthening these resources across all the communities served, with an emphasis on improving access to care for high priority populations. While this plan is still in development, the members of the SEWAHP are particularly interested in solutions that can help address gaps in care for kids in school as this would target several of the common regional health priorities.
 
Along with the planning work, members of the SEWAHP have been collaborating on projects using Social Determinant of Health Funds from GCACH. These projects include contributing fresh fruits and vegetables to a food bank in Garfield County, supporting a bus that provides transportation to the hospital and clinic in Columbia County, and distributing gas cards to help individuals reach medical appointments in all three counties.