SNHD releases plan with ‘realistic timelines to improve public health’

The Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD) has released a plan to address chronic diseases and other public health priorities for Clark County over the next three to five years.

The development process of Southern Nevada Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) launched in Oct. 2021.

Government agencies, including the Southern Nevada Regional Transportation Commission (RTC), Clark County Social Services and the City of Las Vegas, worked alongside healthcare providers, nonprofit organizations and UNLV academics to address four key health priorities outlined in the plan: chronic illness, access to care, financing and access to transport.

“The CHIP is based on solid, evidence-based strategies,” District Health Officer Fermin Leguen said 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 diseases such as cancer, heart disease and lower respiratory tract disease.

According to the CHIP report, Nevada allocates less than $1 million annually to tobacco control, about 3.2% of the $30 million the CDC recommends.

In 2021, the national average for people who used tobacco was 14.4%, according to the 2021 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey. Yet, in Nevada, 15.5% of adults used tobacco; At the county level, 14.88% of adults used tobacco.

The report aims to reduce chronic health problems such as heart disease, cancer and lower rates of respiratory disease for populations where these diseases are more common than male,” the report said, and the ZIP codes with the highest death rates from heart disease were 89018, 89101, 89019 , 89025 and 89086.

In two years, by December 2025, the goal is to have more funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to control tobacco use, implement a CDC or national model policy on second-hand smoke, and reduce tobacco-related cancers in the United States decrease across populations.

The plan also includes improving access to care for LGBTQ+, uninsured and undocumented populations by improving availability of and access to mental health services, establishing a comprehensive cultural responsiveness capability and augmenting medical staff through cultural responsiveness training by December 2025 .

The goal is to increase the number of healthcare providers who have LGBTQ+ identity options on intake forms by December this year.

The CHIP report also outlines increasing access to transportation and awareness of existing transportation options for healthcare.

Another goal is to identify funding for public transport fare policies to improve affordability and accessibility by the end of this year and increase the number of modes of transport available by December 2025.

By December 2024, the program aims to raise awareness of the Silver Star and Silver Rider Programs, expand on-demand transportation services for low-income communities, and consider expansion Three Square’s Golden Groceries program for additional low-income populations.

SNHD aims to raise awareness of the importance of public health funding by December 2024 and increase overall funding even from federal, state and local governments by December 2025.