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Assessment Overview

The research and survey included:

Secondary data profile:

This includes statistics and data pulled from existing sources.  Statistics analyzed include population and demographic statistics, mortality and morbidity rates, maternal and child health indicators, among other factors.

Household survey

The household survey was conducted utilizing questions developed by the Centers for Disease Control for the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS).  This survey instrument was utilized so results would be comparable on a national, state, county, and local basis.  The same survey instrument was used in the 2010 Backus Assessment.

The geography surveyed included the towns located in the “ancillary” service area.  Survey results now total 1,570 randomly selected adults from all zip codes in New London and Windham Counties.

Key Informant Interviews

Backus engaged Holleran to conduct 49 in-depth key informant interviews with individuals from a variety of settings.  The interview tool asked questions regarding the health status of the community and perceptions of health, as well as what needed to be improved and what was working well to address health needs.  These interviews were aggregated into a comprehensive report highlighting common themes heard throughout the interviews.

Health Care Consumer Focus Group

Three health care consumer focus groups were held in order to understand the health challenges faced in the community directly from patients.  The results from these focus groups were aggregated into a comprehensive report detailing the common themes heard throughout the groups.  Focus group participants were representative of many different cultures, socioeconomic statuses, municipalities, and ages.

Community Prioritization Session with community leaders

Key stakeholders within the community, all of whom participated as a key informant interviewee, were invited to hear an overview of the results of the data collection and were asked to help Backus prioritize the outcomes.  This was done in a half day session, where participants discussed the severity and the ability to impact each health indicator.

The data revealed many key community strengths and areas of opportunity.


Key Community Strengths*:

These are areas where the region fares better than the state or nation.

  • Self-reported health status
  • Health insurance coverage
  • Physical activity
  • Ability to pay for care
  • Routine checkups
  • Diabetes or pre-Diabetes diagnosis
  • Incidence rates for all sexually transmitted illnesses
  • Incidence rates for colorectal cancer and prostate cancer
  • Maternal/child health
  • Percent of adults receiving a health screening
  • Percent of adults receiving a flu shot
  • HIV testing
  • HPV vaccines
  • Lead screenings
  • Overall crime rate
  • Air and water quality

Areas of Opportunity*:

These are areas where the region fares worse than the state or nation.

  • Mortality rates due to top three leading causes of death
  • Lung cancer incidence rate and mortality rate
  • Asthma
  • Incidence rates for Acute Hepatitis C and Lyme disease
  • Percent of obese adults
  • Percent of adult smokers
  • Access to care
  • Diabetes Management
  • Mental Health
  • Percent of women receiving a mammogram
  • Percent of adults receiving a pneumonia shot
  • Oral health
  • Annual hospitalizations
  • Binge drinking
  • Seatbelt use
  • Educational attainment
  • Transportation
  • Cultural competency
  • Physical activity

*Not inclusive of all areas of strength or opportunity.