Hawaii Community Health Needs Assessment: Mental Health Visits High in Hospitals

A new study of Hawaii’s hospitals mandated under President Barack Obama’s sweeping health care overhaul shows more patients were hospitalized for mental health issues in 2011 than any other preventable cause. The state’s Community Health Needs Assessment shows mental health causes accounted for 5,180 hospital visits in Hawaii in 2011. That’s well above the next highest cause, heart failure, with 2,954 visits.

The hospitalization rates for preventable causes are one measurement in a report designed to help the vast majority of Hawaii’s hospitals set priorities over the next few years. The assessment was required for nonprofit hospitals under the new federal law. President George Greene of the Healthcare Association of Hawaii says the study sets benchmarks for hospitals to measure progress against every three years.

Low-income families, people in rural areas, veterans, Native Hawaiians and migrants under the Compact of Free Association have the most difficulty accessing mental health care, because of insurance coverage and others issues, the study said. The vast majority of hospital visits, more than 92 percent, came from people ages 18 to 64, a group that makes up only 63 percent of the overall population.

All but two of Hawaii’s 28 hospitals participated, including hospitals on all the state’s islands besides Niihau. Tripler Army Medical Center and Hawaii State Hospital were not required to do the assessment under the law. Besides measuring hospitalization rates, the assessment was built on interviews with key community members, state officials and others, and reviewed the state’s demographics and other data.

Other top health issues for Hawaii include respiratory diseases, family planning and diabetes, the study said.

Population of focus: Hawaiians

Links to resource:

Date: 2013

Organization: Healthcare Association of Hawaii