Working together, the member hospitals, including Bayhealth Milford, Beebe Healthcare, and Nanticoke Health Services, identify areas of need that are common throughout the county.  The goal is to develop initiatives where the organizations can pool resources to make a greater impact for all.  Efficiencies in sharing resources began with the collection of data for the assessment itself.  Together the group compiled data collected from surveys and interviews with community members from all sectors and regions of Sussex County to find common concerns. In addition to the more than  129 stakeholders surveyed, over 2,100 community members  were surveyed, asking what they felt were some of the most important health needs and what barriers to care they experience. 

“Combined with federal and state data, the feedback from the community helps us determine which areas to focus on first,” said Jeffrey M. Fried, FACHE, President & CEO, Beebe Healthcare.  “This is the second time we have worked through this process since 2012 and we have had some great successes.”  Among the projects Healthier Sussex County Task Force has tackled are care initiatives such as providing quarterly hemoglobin A1c testing for patients with diabetes, and increasing awareness about Breast Cancer screening and early detection.  The group is currently working to ensure lung cancer screenings are available across the county.  Together they will continue to measure impacts of screenings and raise awareness around early detection for lung cancer.

“The latest assessment has identified a couple of issues that each hospital has been working on individually for years,” said Terry Murphy, CEO, Bayhealth.  “Mental health and substance abuse issues are a big problem for Delaware and for Sussex County.  Working together, we are digging further into the patterns that each hospital is facing so that we can look for ways to help these patients more.”  Another widespread concern is the high percentage of residents that are either overweight or obese.   The Healthier Sussex County Task Force began with formal efforts to address obesity through the Plus 3 program launched in 2014; this program has now been launched statewide, as Motivate the 1st State, and is gaining traction across the entire state.   While there has been some improvement, there is still a great deal of work to be done.

Many of the needs identified in the 2016 Community Health Needs Assessment will serve as the foundation for future Healthier Sussex Task Force initiatives and programming. As we move forward, the Task Force continues to grow community partnerships and build upon existing strategies in an effort to positively impact the overall health of those living in Sussex County. Key community partners include La Red Health Center, the Sussex County Health Coalition, and the Healthy Neighborhood Council established through the Delaware Center for Health Innovation.

Read Beebe Healthcare's Community Health Needs Assessment Implementation Plan.