HARC survey reveals troubling Valley health trends

A third of adults remain uninsured

PALM DESERT, Calif. - The Health Assessment Resource Center or HARC was formed several years ago by a group of more than 35 public and private health care agencies to put together a health status report on the Coachella Valley every three years.

Unfortunately, the latest report shows the health trend in the Valley has gotten worse in several areas since the previous two surveys.

The percentage of adults 18-64 who have no health insurance increased from 22.5 percent in 2007 to 28.6 percent in 2010 to about a third of those surveyed last year at 33.6 percent.  That adds up to more than 74,000 adults in the Valley living without health insurance, although it should be noted that affordable health coverage through the Covered California exchange did not go into effect until the first of this year.

On the cancer front, the number of adults diagnosed with cancer jumped from 9.6 percent in the initial survey to 13.8 percent in 2013, translating into more than 49,000 people fighting the disease.

Also not getting better, the battle of bulge among adults.  The latest numbers show more than 200,000 adults are overweight or obese.  The number almost holding steady increasing one percentage point over the last three-year period to 59.5 percent.

While a lot of the survey results are disappointing, the upshot, having specific numbers that apply to the Valley can help health officials reverse the trends that are heading in the wrong direction.
"The nice thing about a report and the data that HARC provides is it gives such a great way for nonprofits - for organizations like hospitals - for researchers to use as a baseline to attract funding from grantors to address these issues that are really concerning for the desert," said Richard Ramhoff, director of marketing for Desert Regional Medical Center.

HARC researchers interviewed more than 2,400 people in putting the survey together.

If you would like to read the complete 133-page Community Health Monitor Report, go to this link: 

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