Fulton and Montgomery: The Health Status

Objective

In this report, two counties in Pennsylvania, Fulton and Montgomery, are examined for their health status. The motives behind the choice of the two counties are in their sharp difference in many categories. For instance, the dissimilarity in population is very prominent since the population per square mile in Fulton County is 33.4, while Montgomery County’s is 1691.1 (Pennsylvania Department of Health, 2016). Montgomery County is reported to be the third-most populous county in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, while Fulton County, on the other hand, is considered to be one of the least-populated counties in the state.

The data on those counties presents a lot of reasons why the counties should be carefully investigated and compared for further analysis. The parameters that were studied and compared in this report include health needs, health assets and health capacities in each county, with two indicators in each category. The reason behind the choices is dictated by wanting to provide an overall concept about the health, economy, and demographic situation in each county, and therefore give an insight on the standards of living of its inhabitants.

Health Indicators of Fulton County

Health Needs

  1. Natality. In 2014, in Fulton County, the average annual general fertility rate was 60.4 per 1,000 people among women of all ages (Pennsylvania Department of Health, 2016). Additionally, there were no fetal deaths reported. (Pennsylvania Department of Health, 2016) Regarding this county, the number of reported pregnancies of women of all ages is 156. (Pennsylvania Department of Health, 2016). The rate of white mothers seeking prenatal care during their first trimester is 72.7%, but unfortunately, there is no information given on the number of black mothers.
  2. Mortality. The crude death rate of residents per 1,000 people in Fulton County is 10.1. Furthermore, the rate for the average annual infant mortality is not determined for both white and black people (Pennsylvania Department of Health, 2016).

Health Assets

  1. Hospitals. In Fulton County, there is only one general acute care hospital in the area, as there are no other hospitals available for the residents (Pennsylvania Department of Health, 2016). The number of beds set up and staffed for patients is 21and its rate per 1.000 population is 1.4 beds only (Pennsylvania Department of Health, 2016). According to the data, the only functioning hospital is non-profit.
  2. Nursing homes. According to the provided data, there is only one nursing home in Fulton County with 67 licensed beds available (Pennsylvania Department of Health, 2016). The rate of total licensed beds per 1.000 population of ages 65 and older is estimated to be 23.2, with an average occupancy rate of 98.5 (Pennsylvania Department of Health, 2016).

Health Capacities

  1. Employees in ambulatory surgery centers. Unfortunately, there are no ambulatory surgery centers in Fulton County (Pennsylvania Department of Health, 2016). Therefore, there are no employees in that particular department (Pennsylvania Department of Health, 2016). This data, along with the demographic statistics, clearly show that in comparison to Montgomery County, Fulton County has fewer residents, thus possibly making it unnecessary to have an ambulatory surgery center. Moreover, Fulton County is less economically developed, the fact, which could also be a reason for the absence of the surgery centers.
  2. Healthcare workforce. There is an estimated number of 10 physicians, 67 registered nurses, and 49 licensed practical nurses (Pennsylvania Department of Health, 2016). The number of dentists is unfortunately not given. Additionally, there is a percentage of change in the number of physicians from the previous survey, which is -33% (Pennsylvania Department of Health, 2016). Here it is possible to conclude that the number of physicians is in decline, and there might be a shortage of healthcare workforce in Fulton County.

Health Indicators of Montgomery County

Health Needs

  1. Natality. In Montgomery County the average annual general fertility in 2014 was determined to be 58.6 per 1,000 people among women of all ages (Pennsylvania Department of Health, 2016). Fetal deaths in Montgomery County happened to 76 women (Pennsylvania Department of Health, 2016). Furthermore, there were 10.610 of reported pregnancies of women of all ages (Pennsylvania Department of Health, 2016). It is important to note that 82.6% of the white mothers seek prenatal care during their first trimester, and 58.5% of black mothers seek prenatal care in Montgomery County (Pennsylvania Department of Health, 2016).
  2. Mortality. The data on crude death rate shows that it is 9.0 per 1,000 people in Montgomery County (Pennsylvania Department of Health, 2016). The average annual infant mortality rate per 1000 live births in Montgomery County is 2.5 for white people, and 16.7 for black people (Pennsylvania Department of Health, 2016).

Health Assets

  1. Hospitals. Most hospitals in Montgomery County are general acute care hospitals, with a total of nine hospitals in the county (Pennsylvania Department of Health, 2016). Despite having four psychiatric hospitals, there are no rehabilitation hospitals available for the residents of the county (Pennsylvania Department of Health, 2016). The provided data is very important in determining whether the number of health services is enough to meet the population’s needs. Furthermore, there is data on funding – for instance, there are nine non-profit and five for-profit hospitals (Pennsylvania Department of Health, 2016).
  2. Nursing homes. The total number of nursing homes in Montgomery County is 59, with 6,998 licensed beds available (Pennsylvania Department of Health, 2016). The rate of total licensed beds per 1,000 population aged 65 or older is 52.3 (Pennsylvania Department of Health, 2016). The average occupancy rate is estimated to be 92.4 (Pennsylvania Department of Health, 2016).

Health Capacities

  1. Employees in ambulatory surgery centers. In comparison to Fulton County, which has no ambulatory surgery centers at all, there are 31 total facilities and 61 operating rooms in Montgomery County (Pennsylvania Department of Health, 2016). The number of employees is 925 in total, with a rate of 15.2 employees per operating room (Pennsylvania Department of Health, 2016).
  2. Healthcare workforce. According to the data, there are an estimated number of 2.690 physicians, 700 dentists, 11.413 registered nurses, and 1.419 licensed practical nurses in Montgomery County (Pennsylvania Department of Health, 2016). The percentage of change in data compared to the previous survey shows a positive number with a 2.2% change in physicians and 4.2% in dentists (Pennsylvania Department of Health, 2016).

Conclusion

The statistics on natality and mortality are crucial, as they allow determining the demographic situation of the county, make a prognosis on the perspective of the social environment of the population, and understand the tendencies of its development. The information on hospitals and nursing homes is exceptionally significant for consideration as well, as it allows drawing conclusions about the level of healthcare, financing, and readiness to provide healthcare services to the residents.

Furthermore, understanding the statistics on the workforce in healthcare is essential, too, as it is used to evaluate and determine the social environment and the healthcare system in general in both of the counties. The existing economic situation of the county in some cases affects the way health issues are handled among the residents of a specific county or state. It is possible to conclude from the given report comparing Fulton County and Montgomery County that there is a substantial difference between two counties from the same state.

Montgomery County has a lower rate of health issues in comparison with Fulton County, as it provides more medical services. People in Montgomery County who have higher socioeconomic status than the people in Fulton County are healthier and less susceptible to diseases. Nevertheless, some additional data would be required, such as disease registries and reports on clinical trials, since they would give more exposure to the particular cases those residents in each county face and what drugs they use for treatment.

References

Pennsylvania Department of Health. (2016). Pennsylvania and County Health Profiles. Web.