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Community Health Imporvement Plan Now Available

By Public Health Communications

June 21, 2017

PALM BEACH COUNTY, FL-- The Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) has been released. The CHIP is a collaborative effort by a diverse group of community leaders, stakeholders, Florida Department of Health in Palm Beach County and the Health Care District of Palm Beach County that serves as a directional roadmap committed to improving the health and quality of life of Palm Beach County residents.

Earlier this year the Community Health Assessment (CHA) for Palm Beach County identified the current health needs and emerging health issues facing the county.  The CHIP is the plan to address several of these needs; it is an action plan, detailing intervention strategies, activities, how progress will be measured, and sources of data related to each measure.  Over the next five years an advisory council will address the three priority areas identified CHIP.  

  1.  Mental and Behavioral Health

Why address it?

  • In Palm Beach County, the age-adjusted suicide rate was 15.7, higher when compared to the rate in Florida (14.6).
  • In 2012, in Palm Beach County 38.0% of high school students reported having used alcohol in the past 30 days, 4.1% higher than Florida as a whole.
  • From 2007 to 2013, the percentage of adults who reported poor mental health on more than 14 of the past 30 days has increased from 7.8% to 9.6%, indicating a growing need for mental health services.
  • There is also a growing need for behavioral health services, an indicated by a spike in the percentage of adults who engage in heavy or binge drinking between 2010 and 2013
  1. Active Living and Healthy Lifestyles

Why address it?

  • Palm Beach County is experiencing high rates of obesity and chronic health conditions. Obesity can have numerous harmful effects on the body (high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, joint problems, etc.). Diabetes has increased in Palm Beach County (while decreasing in Florida)
  • Local mosquito-borne Zika virus transmission has been reported in South Florida, increasing the need for Zika education, communication, misting, and larvicide programs.
  • The 2012-2014 three-year rolling mortality rate is the highest among black infants (8.2 per 1,000 births) in the county.
  • Breastfed infants are more likely to gain the right amount of weight as they grow rather than become overweight. Research has also found that breast-fed babies have
  • a decreased risk of dying of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), less likely to develop Type 2 diabetes and experience fewer hospitalizations for pneumonia.

Access to Care and Services

Why address it?

  • There were 11,945 preventable hospitalizations in 2014. In 2015, there were 494,529 emergency department visits.
  • The rate of hospitalizations may be reduced by increasing public awareness of community resources and services through education of what’s available, how to access services, and the importance of accessing services, particularly in the areas of mental and behavioral health, oral health, and primary medical care.
  • People without medical insurance are more likely to lack a usual source of medical care, such as a primary care provider, and are more likely to skip routine medical care due to costs, increasing their risk for serious and disabling health conditions.

“The Community Health Improvement Plan sets the direction for improving the health of our community,” said Dr. Alina Alonso, Director, DOH-Palm Beach.  “It focuses us on the key areas with unmet health needs.”

 The community is invited to read the Community Health Assessment and Community Health Improvement Plan on line at To volunteer and get involved contact Adam Reback at Department of Health, 561-671-4057.

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