Rural Health Project

UDDC Rural Health Project

Portions of the UDDC Five Year Plan focus on healthcare needs for people with disabilities.

Utah State University Center for Persons with Disabilities Report

In 2017, the UDDC sponsored the USU Center for Persons with Disabilities (CPD) to conduct research regarding health resources in four Utah counties: Rich, Piute, Emery, and Beaver. These counties have high needs, particularly for people with disabilities.

This research found that:
• Generally low-income, aging adults, and high uninsured populations
o Largest concern when prompted was alcohol and substance abuse, second was mental health issues; diabetes prevalence in these counties is higher than state average
o Help with transport, providing local providers, providing community support for healthcare services, and community health education
• Piute and Rich have no Primary Care Physicians (PCPs), Beaver has four, Emery has two
o Not economically feasible to add more at this time
o Many PCPs are not trained in serving those with disabilities
o Telemedicine seems to be less accessible due to IT or infrastructure issues
• Dental providers follow state trends for service, except in Emery where the ratio doubles (higher patient to provider ratio)
o Lack of providers and lack of transport are biggest issues
o Many dentists are lacking training on disability needs
• Mental Health Provider (MHP) ratio is double or triple state average except in Rich where it is 400%; most MHPs are licensed clinical social workers (no psychiatry)
o Biggest barriers to mental health are a lack of providers and lack of coverage, and significant stigma
• Education is a major community concern
o Limited access to basic information, education, and assistance for services for adults with disabilities and families of children with disabilities were major issues
o Providers lack training or capacity to meet the needs of individuals with disabilities
o Community trainings and provider trainings are a recommended resolution

The full CPD report can be accessed here.

State of Utah Department of Health Disability Report

The Utah Department of Health (DOH) released research in 2020 regarding disabilities and special health needs across Utah. The Utah Disability and Health Program is working to resolve issues at the intersection of healthcare needs and disabilities.

This research found that:
• Nearly one in five (17.8%) Utah adults is living with a disability. The most common are mobility-related disabilities (9.1%), followed by cognitive disabilities (8.8%), disabilities that impact independent living (4.5%), vision-related disabilities (2.8%), and disabilities that impact self-care (2.3%).
• People with disabilities are more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors like inactivity and tobacco usage and experience a higher incidence of chronic health conditions like diabetes and obesity.

The full DOH report can be found here.

Local Health Department Community Health Assessments (CHAs)

Over the past five years, local health departments have conducted research on various health needs in their districts. The UDDC has sought collaboration with these groups, as their goals have mirrored the UDDC health committee goals. For each local health district, a summary page is available providing information from the CPD report, the CHAs, and the DOH disability report, as well as resources currently available through each local health district.

Use the links below to access information pages for county-specific Community Health Assessment and existing resources:

Delta Area Summary
Dixie Regional Area Summary
Garfield Memorial Summary
Sanpete Area Summary
Sevier Valley Area Summary
Beaver County (Southwest Health District)
Piute County (Central Health District)
Emery County (Southeast Health District)
Rich County (Bear River Health District)