COMMUNITY HEALTH IMPROVEMENT PARTNERSHIP (CHIP): KEEPING HEALTHCARE LOCAL

The CHIP program’s goal is to help Lake County residents live healthier lives. To do this, the CHIP coordinator works with primary care clinics, public health, behavioral health, youth and senior organizations, and interested individuals to create programs and projects that help residents of all ages seek preventive care and take steps to help them eat well, get fit, and care for themselves. CHIP involves as many people as possible in its decision-making processes and works hard to help people view health as broader than the traditional healthcare system.

CHIP works closely with the Lake County Community Advisory Council, or LCAC, which seeks to improve health for Eastern Oregon Coordinated Care Organization (EOCCO) members. Over the years, CHIP has helped the LCAC implement several programs.

Colorectal cancer screening: In 2017 and 2018, CHIP partnered with EOCCO, Lake Health Clinic, and Warner Mountain Medical Clinic to send FIT kits to adults who are due for colorectal cancer screening. The at-home fecal immunochemical tests are noninvasive and simple to complete in the privacy of one’s own bathroom. In some cases, they are an appropriate substitute for a colonoscopy – although a follow-up colonoscopy may be needed. Learn more about the program here and find out more about why screening for colorectal cancer is so important here.

Developmental screening: It’s crucial to screen children regularly from birth to age 3 to ensure they’re healthy and developing normally. CHIP partners with Lake Health Clinic, Warner Mountain Medical Clinic, and La Pine Community Health Center-Christmas Valley to provide diapers to parents who bring in their children for developmental screenings.

Teen health fairs: CHIP partnered with Lake County School District 7, clinics, health agencies, and nonprofits in Lakeview to put on the first Outback Strong Teen Health Fair in 2017. The event offered age-appropriate information about health issues such as nutrition, underage drinking, and teen dating. It also gave youths 12 and older a chance to get immunized, get screened for depression, and schedule a wellness exam with their primary care provider. In 2018, CHIP coordinated teen health fairs in North Lake and Lakeview.

Timely prenatal and postpartum care: CHIP is working with Lake Health Clinic, Warner Mountain Medical Clinic, Lake County Public Health, and Lake District Hospital to ensure mothers receive appropriate care during pregnancy and after delivery. The partners have developed processes to help women schedule appointments with primary care providers during their first trimester to check that their pregnancies are healthy at the start. They also have processes to help women schedule doctor appointments within three to eight weeks after delivery to ensure they are recovering after giving birth. Incentives add an extra layer of encouragement for mothers to keep their appointments.

Some programs have a broader reach than EOCCO members. CHIP coordinates programs that help Lake County residents of all ages stay healthy.

Lake County Gatekeeper: A grant from Greater Oregon Behavioral health Inc.’s Older Adult Behavioral Health Initiative helped CHIP initiate the Lake County Gatekeeper Program. The program follows a national model that trains people who regular interact with older adults, such as bank tellers or grocery store clerks, about red flags that might signal a senior is unwell or being abused. The program gives Lake Count, already a community known for watching out for one another, tools to help their elderly neighbors. Find out more about the Gatekeeper program here.

Living Well: CHIP is a partner in the Living Well Coalition, a group of healthcare and health-related agencies dedicated to helping people with chronic conditions live healthier lives. Through the coalition, employees at Lake Health Clinic and Lake District Wellness Center have been trained to facilitate nationally recognized, evidence-based self-management programs developed by Stanford University CHIP Coordinates Chronic Pain Self-Management, Living Well with Diabetes, and Living Well with Chronic Conditions programs in Lake County.

Outback Strong Summer Lunch Program: CHIP oversees Lake Health District’s summer lunch program, which helps make sure kids don’t go hungry while school is out in the summer. The health district began sponsoring the federal Summer Food Service Program in 2017 after it had been absent in Lake County for several years. Many community partners volunteered throughout the program, which helped the lunch program win the USDA Western Region Summer Sunshine Award. In 2018, CHIP operated eight sites and served more than 5,100 meals to hungry kids. You can read more about the program in the 2018 final report.

The CHIP program is a proud partner in Lake County’s Outback Strong initiative, which the LCAC created in 2017. Outback Strong aims to improve Lake County residents’ health and well-being by challenging local culture’s traditional definition of strength. By encouraging Lake County to view preventive care, mental wellness, and positive lifestyle changes as sings of strength, Oregon’s Outback will live stronger, healthier lives. Find out more about Outback Strong on its website, or follow it on Facebook, Twitter and Instragram.

CHIP has helped identify health-related needs in Lake County through a community Health Needs Assessment. You can also learn more about CHIP’s goals in its Strategic Plan.

CHIP/LCAC meeting are held at 3 p.m. the second Thursday of each month at Lake Health District’s Penn Wilbur conference Room. For additional information about CHIP or any of its programs, contact CHIP coordinator Arvinder Singh via email or call him at 541.947-2114 ext. 198.