In Richland County, the process of comprehensively assessing the community’s health needs was again led by a diverse group of community stakeholders from the sectors of healthcare, public health, Extension, and education.  This Health Assessment and Wellness Commission (HAWC) was established in 2016 and came together again in 2022 to revisit priorities established in the 2019 CHNA and to look for changes in community needs

Overview of the Assessment Process

The 2022 report (downloadable, below) includes their review of multiple sources of secondary data, whereby the broad trends in community health were assessed for the region. Additionally, they created an online survey in both English and Spanish to seek input from the general community.  To gain in-depth knowledge from community leaders and residents, one-on-one key stakeholder interviews were conducted and, additionally, a data walk event was held for all interested community members to attend.


Priorities identified were mental health and substance abuse – these are needs that will be the focus of all HAWC members.  In addition, The Richland Hospital and Clinics will add the third greatest concern of the community: obesity.  These priorities are continued from both our 2016 and 2019 CHNA processes.

  • Review of multiple sources of secondary data revealed that these priorities continue to be concerns for Richland County. County Health Rankings & Roadmaps 2022 (Appendix G3) indicated the continued prevalence of adult obesity (36% of population; up from 33% in 2019) and adult excessive drinking (24% of population – consistent with 2019). Richland County Health and Human Services data showed an annual increase in the number of crisis services they provided for mental health over the past several years. Wisconsin Department of Justice noted the number of drug arrests for possession or sale of illegal substances continued to increase annually.
  • Results of the online survey indicated that top health concerns of respondents include the cost of health care (86%) concern over illegal drug use (66%) and obesity (68%), and that a majority (71%+) believe their access to mental health care is poor or fair.
  • Participants in the focus groups shared multiple suggestions about new strategies that could be implemented in each area to continue to improve outcomes. This shows sustained community interest and willingness to work on the priorities of Mental Health Treatment, Substance Abuse Prevention & Treatment, and Obesity Prevention & Treatment.

With those priorities having been first identified in the 2016 CHNA, multiple organizations made Community Health Improvement Plans (CHIPs) to improve outcomes in those areas. Reflecting on community progress showed a decrease in diversity of programs and community responses since 2019 – mostly attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic.  All parties are encouraged by the positive impact of vaccinations in Richland County and are able to refocus energies on addressing different facets of the concern to improve outcomes.

The Conclusion

The conclusion of the HAWC is that continuing to support community coalitions in their work on Mental Health Treatment, Substance Abuse Prevention & Treatment, and Obesity Prevention & Treatment is the best way to make progress in Richland County. With these needs reaffirmed by the 2022 CHNA assessment process, the HAWC members feel that continuing to support coalitions as they implement grassroots and evidence-based responses, while providing shared metrics for success, is how Richland County will see continued progress in these areas.


We’re Better Together

The Richland Hospital Foundation invites you to join with so many others who have taken our mission statement to heart.

Our mission quite simply captures what we believe is very important to our entire community. And that is the availability of excellent health care close to home. Our mission is made possible by people like you who are passionate about a healthy community and are deeply rooted in their annual support of the Richland Hospital Foundation.