2013 Community Health Needs Assessment

2013-2014 Martha’s Vineyard Hospital Community Health Assessment and Implementation Plan

Defined Priorities

The fiscal year 2013 Process for Assessing Community Needs and Defining Priorities for Martha’s Vineyard Hospital provided insight into four general areas defined as unmet or relevant healthcare needs that considered significant to the Vineyard community. Some programs appear in more than one category.

The Dukes County Health Council (DCHC), founded in 1966 by the Dukes County Commissioners, is a coalition of appointed members representing consumers, public officials, health care practitioners, and healthcare agencies of Martha’s Vineyard. The Council meets 9 times a year on the 4th Thursday of the month. Sub-committee meetings vary and are posted on the County’s website. The role of the council is to assess the community health needs of the Island and recommend a plan for addressing those needs.

The DCHC is organized into sub-committees

  • Health Council Coordinating Committee – elected by the general membership of the Council. Responsible for establishing leadership development.
  • Health Council Elder Affairs Committee – addresses the need in the community to “bring people and services together” for the elder population.
  • Health Council Mental Health and Addiction Working Group – charged with developing a comprehensive system of care for community-based mental health and substance abuse.
  • Youth Task Force – formed in response to concerns over finding of Youth Risk Behaviors Surveys that documented levels of substance use and other risky behaviors among Island youth. The committee’s mission is to reduce substance use and other risky behaviors by promoting community-wide health and wellness programs for youth and their families through a cooperative integrated network.
  • UMass Clerkship/Rural Scholars Committee – formed to coordinate proposed projects of the Health Council with the medical and graduate nursing students from UMass Medical School.

Currently there are representatives from the Hospital, Community Services, VNA, Hospice, Whole Health Alliance, Island Health Access Program, and Windemere Nursing & Rehabilitation Center. Other representatives include the Superintendent of Schools, Elder Services, Wampanoag Tribe, Edgartown Board of Health, Veterans Agent and Associate Commissioner of Health Care.

The DCHC defined the Vineyard community as the island of Martha’s Vineyard and based the assessment on the needs of the Vineyard community.

The report was reviewed and approved by Martha’s Vineyard Hospital’s President & Chief Executive Officer, senior management team and board of trustees.

The primary areas of need, as assessed by the DCHC are:

Behavioral Health

(mental illness and addiction)

  • Integration of Behavioral Health and Medical Care
  • Medical/Mental Health Treatment (18-25 year olds)
  • Mental Health Needs of the Elderly
  • Stress Management
  • Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment, including tobacco
  • Substance Abuse Rehabilitation for Youth
  • Youth Risk Behavior;

Chronic Disease Prevention and Management

(chronic diseases include, but are not limited to: Diabetes; Coronary Artery Disease; Congestive Heart Failure; Cancer; auto-immune diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis, ALS or Lupus; Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease; Asthma; Chronic Lyme, etc.)

  • Environmental Health
  • Food Safety/Food Quality
  • Oral Health
  • Prevention of Tick-Borne Diseases
  • Sedentary Lifestyle
  • Stress Management
  • Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment

Health Care Access

  • Access to Specialized Healthcare Services
  • Health Insurance Coverage
  • Language/Cultural Barriers to Care
  • Transportation to Healthcare Services

Public Health

(public health deals with health threats that can cause generalized illness in the community)

  • Enhanced Community & Public Health Capacity and Infrastructure
  • Environmental Health (reduction of exposure to chemical and biological contaminants)
  • Food Safety/Food Quality
  • Island-wide Public Health Alert System/Emergency Preparedness
  • Occupational Health (reduction of chemical exposure of landscapers, painters, farmers, boatyard workers as well as minimization of work-related injuries)
  • Vector-Borne Illness (mitigation of tick-borne illnesses and other diseases such as mosquito-borne West Nile Virus/Eastern Equine Encephalitis, rabies, etc)

Community-Defined Unmet Needs

In addition to the DCHC assessment, the Island community was asked to define its unmet healthcare-related needs in two focus groups and one public survey. What follows is an overview of these results.


Health Protective Factors

Martha’s Vineyard residents have easy access to the outdoors, and there were numerous mentions of this as a protective health factor in terms of both physical and mental health. Residents also have access to fresh locally grown food, albeit often at high prices. Finally, both survey respondents and participants at the community forum talked about the importance of shared community values and the support extended one another.

Health Risk Factors

The high cost of living on the island was brought up again and again by community residents as a cause of stress as well as a factor that inhibits access to certain health care services. Also mentioned was the lack of access to health care coverage and services.

Priority Community-Defined Unmet Needs

When asked to prioritize health-related needs on Martha’s Vineyard, residents prioritized the following:

  • substance abuse
  • mental health
  • youth risk behaviors
  • Lyme disease and other tick borne illnesses
  • chronic disease prevention and management
  • healthcare access

Implementation Plan

Martha’s Vineyard Hospital’s Community Benefit Implementation Plan includes the development of the DoN Community Health Initiatives Planning Group in 2010. The group was made up of members of the Dukes County Health Council, the Health Agents from all the towns and the Southeast Center for Healthy Communities. The Planning Group reviewed data and developed a list of priorities. Findings were presented to the public in 2 forums (5/18 and 5/20/2010) to get additional input. The initial requests for proposals and the standardized procedure for selecting proposals began 7/28/10.

Priority grants of $51,670 each per year for five years were awarded to:

  • A coalition of the VNA/Island Health Clinic/Vineyard Health Access program to target chronic disease in the community.
  • The Island boards of health for a program to reduce the Island-wide incidence and severity of tick-borne illnesses.
  • Martha’s Vineyard Community Services New Paths Recovery Program. T
  • he Island Councils on Aging Collaborative for counseling for outreach and referral for the elderly.

The final awards will be made in 2015.

Mini grants of $5,000 each were awarded to: (paid in 12/2010)

  • Vineyard Village at Home to expand its transportation program for senior health care needs.
  • Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard for its children’s bereavement program.
  • Let’s Move Martha’s Vineyard Coalition which aims to promote healthy lifestyles.
  • Martha’s Vineyard Community Services Daybreak Program’s health and wellness initiative.

Mini grants of $5,000 each were awarded to: (paid 2/2012)

  • Youth Task Force – to provide unmet youth substance abuse prevention resources and bring educational presentations to Island students and parents to address the growing concern of underage binge drinking and its effect on adolescent brain development.
  • Vineyard Health Care Access Program – to prevent involuntary disenrollment in affordable insurance programs in order to maintain insurance coverage and healthcare access for low-income Islanders.
  • Center for Living – to expand the emergency food pantry program by enabling the safe transport and delivery of perishable food products.
  • Island Grown Initiative – to assist with the launching of the island grown pre-schools program and develop the focus on child and family health, wellness and nutrition.

Mini grants of $5,000 each were awarded to: (paid 2/2013)

  • Youth Task Force – to work closely with the High School to establish a nationally endorsed, “Above The Influence” campaign and generate enthusiasm for substance free, healthy choices for our High School students.
  • Island Grown Initiative – Healthy Breakfasts, Taste Tests and Family Outreach – to increase access to healthy food to island children and their families, through a taste test and cooking program affiliated with our new Harvest of the Month initiative at all island schools and for caregivers of island children; and to grow a pilot healthy breakfast program at island K-12 schools.
  • MV Center for Living – Medical Taxi Program -to support the Medical Taxi Program, a transportation service for islanders 55 and over who must travel off-island to see physicians, specialists and other medical services that are not available on Martha’s Vineyard.
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cape Cod and the Islands – One to One Youth Mentoring – to support and expand one-to-one youth mentoring program on Martha’s Vineyard. Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring has a positive impact on public health, including reduced rates of alcohol and drug use.

FY2014 Mini grants of $5,000 each were awarded to:

  • Healthy Aging Task Force – to develop a web-based One-Stop referral system for Island elders, caregivers and service providers to meet the health needs of our elder population. A comprehensive directory of services and programs will be complemented by a full-time staff available by telephone to answer questions and help individuals navigate to the services or information they seek.
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cape Cod and the Islands – One to One Youth Mentoring – to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring professionally supported one-to-one friendships with caring, responsible adults that change their lives for the better, forever.
  • Vineyard Healthcare Access – to assist people in obtaining affordable insurance, in addition to healthcare access, unmet health needs may be addressed to get services related to substance abuse, mental health, tick-borne illnesses and chronic disease prevention and management.
  • Island Grown Schools Initiative – to raise a generation of Vineyarders who are connected to local farms and farmers, empowered to make healthy eating choices, be informed about the food system and engaged in growing food for themselves, their families and the community.

In the follow-up Health Needs Assessment of 2013-2014 – many of the same Community-Defined Unmet Needs were established. Many of those needs identified, cross Island organizational missions.

Martha’s Vineyard Hospital’s is continuing its mission to meet unmet needs by providing services not met by other organizations and working collaboratively with those organizations that are already established and working with the hospital to address those healthcare needs.

Click here to download a copy of the report.

If you are unable to download a copy of the report, a paper copy of this report is available upon request, without charge. Please contact Rachel Vanderhoop at 508-693-4645.