SNHD publishes plan with ‘realistic timelines for improving public health’
The Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD) has released a plan to address chronic diseases and other public health priorities for Clark County in the next three to five years.
The process of developing the Southern Nevada Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) started in Oct. 2021.
Government agencies, including the Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) of Southern Nevada, Clark County Social Services, and the City of Las Vegas, along with health care providers, nonprofits, and academics at UNLV collaborated to address four major health priorities outlined in the plan: chronic disease, access to care, funding, and transportation access.
“The CHIP is based on solid, evidence-based strategies,” said District Health Officer Fermin Leguen in a press release. “It presents realistic timelines for improving public health in Southern Nevada.”
CHIP identified smoking and tobacco use as underlying factors in chronic illnesses like cancer, heart disease, and lower respiratory diseases.
Nevada allocates less than $1 million yearly towards tobacco control, which is about 3.2% of the $30 million that the CDC recommends, according to the CHIP report.
In 2021, the national average for people who used tobacco was 14.4% according to the 2021 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey. Still, in Nevada, 15.5% of adults used tobacco; at a county level, 14.88% of adults used tobacco.
The report aims to reduce chronic health conditions like heart disease, cancer, and lower respiratory disease rates for populations that have higher incidences of these diseases. “Within Clark County, rates were highest among those who identify as Black/African American, non-Hispanic and male,” according to the report, and ZIP codes with the highest heart disease mortality rates were 89018, 89101, 89019, 89025, and 89086.
In two years, by December 2025, the goal is to secure more funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help control tobacco use, implement a CDC or national model policy for secondhand smoke and decrease tobacco-related cancers in the above populations.
The plan also includes increasing access to care for LGBTQ+, uninsured, and undocumented populations by improving the availability of and access to mental health services, creating comprehensive cultural responsiveness, and increasing medical staff with cultural response training by December 2025.
By December of this year, the goal is to increase the number of healthcare providers who have LGBTQ+ identity options on intake forms.
The CHIP report also outlines increasing access to transportation and awareness of existing transportation options for health care.
Another goal is to identify funding for transit fare policies to improve affordability and access by the end of this year and increase the number of available transportation by December 2025.
By December 2024, the program aims to increase awareness of the Silver STAR and Silver Rider programs, expand on-demand transportation services for low-income communities, and explore expanding Three Square’s Golden Groceries program to additional low-income populations.
SNHD aims to increase awareness of the importance of public health funding by December 2024, and to increase total funding itself, from federal, state, and local governments, by December 2025.