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Palm Beach County Community Health Assessment

Florida Department of Health in Palm Beach County

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The goal of Palm Beach County Community Health Assessment is to identify unmet health needs of community residents and to inform and guide future health planning initiatives to meet those needs within the county. In 2021, the Health Care District of Palm Beach County and the Florida Department of Health in Palm Beach County engaged the Health Council of Southeast Florida (HCSEF) to facilitate a comprehensive, county-wide health needs assessment for Palm Beach County.

As part of the Community Health Assessment Report, data was collected and analyzed at a county level. HCSEF also collected, compiled and analyzed primary data to capture the community’s perspective.

This report is organized into four main sections and their description and highlights can be seen in the table below.

Demographic and Socioeconomic Profile

The Demographic and Socioeconomic Profile includes data on many of the key demographic and social and economic status indicators, such as population, income, poverty status, educational attainment, employment, housing and transportation.

  • Palm Beach County had a population of 1,465,027 residents in 2019, representing about 7% of Florida’s total population.
  • Palm Beach County was slightly more diverse than the state in terms of race with 18.7% and 16.1% of their total populations represented by Black residents, respectively; however, it had a smaller proportion of Hispanic residents compared to the state (22.4% and 25.6%, respectively).
  • In 2019, Palm Beach County had a lower proportion of residents living below the poverty level compared to the state (12.2% and 14.0%, respectively); however, there were significant economic disparities, with the higher proportion of those living in poverty among Black residents and Hispanic residents of any race
  • Palm Beach County had slightly higher educational attainment compared to the state; however, there are education-related disparities, with 20.1% of Black residents compared to 40.2% of their White counterparts and 24.6% of Hispanic residents compared to 44.3% of their non-Hispanic counterparts having

Health Status Profile

The Health Status Profile provides details on various indicators including: COVID- 19; maternal and child health (such as prenatal care, birth rates, infant and fetal mortality, child immunization rates); behavioral health; hospital utilization; and morbidity and mortality trends.

  • The COVID-19 age-adjusted death rate in 2020 was 2.5 times higher among Black residents than their White counterparts and two times higher among Hispanic residents than their non-Hispanic counterparts
  • The infant death rate was 2.4 times higher among Black residents and 4.1 times higher among non-Hispanic residents compared to their White and Hispanic counterparts.
  • In terms of morbidity and chronic illnesses, such as coronary heart disease, congestive heart failure, asthma, stroke, chronic lower respiratory disease, diabetes, and HIV, Black residents were disproportionately affected.
  • On the contrary, White residents experienced higher rates of cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema, or chronic bronchitis
  • With respect to mental health, White and non- Hispanic residents accounted for higher rates of mental health hospital utilization and suicides compared to their Black and Hispanic counterparts.
  • In 2020, the leading causes of death in the county were heart disease, cancer, COVID-19, stroke, and unintentional injury.

Health Resources Availability and Access Profile

The Health Resources Availability and Access Profile presents information pertaining to the obtainability of health care resources in Palm Beach County and includes information on health insurance coverage, Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), and medically underserved populations and areas (MUPs/MUAs).

  • In FY 20-21, Palm Beach County had a higher rate of total licensed physicians, dentists, and behavioral and mental health providers compared to the state, but a lower rate of all classes of nursing professionals
  • There is a total of nine primary care health professional shortage areas, seven dental health professional shortage areas, and six mental health professional shortage areas.
  • More adults in Palm Beach County had some type of health care insurance coverage compared to Florida (85.5% and 84.2%, respectively).

Community Perspective

The Community Perspective section includes insight gleaned from individuals and organizations in the community through key informant interviews and focus groups.

  • Focus groups were conducted with a total of 299 Palm Beach County residents who mentioned that diabetes, cancer, asthma, substance use, heart disease, and poor mental health were among the top health issues with which they, their families, or their community struggle with.
  • Key informant interviews were conducted with stakeholders who serve Palm Beach County. During these interviews, common themes around the challenges that the community faces when trying to improve or maintain their health included: systemic, institutional racism, lack of representation in health care, lack of community trust, lack of economic mobility, the lived and built environment, and the lack of convenient access to care.

Conclusion

This report was a collaborative effort by community members with the goal of providing residents access to quality health and human services. This community health needs assessment will provide a better understanding of the health needs in the county and will help guide future planning efforts to improve the overall health and quality of life in Palm Beach County. The data collected and presented throughout this assessment will prove to be a valuable asset to the community as a whole moving forward.

View the complete 2022 Palm Beach Community Health Assessment