Rocky Hill, CT — The Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering conducted a Health Impact Assessments (HIA) study on behalf of the Connecticut General Assembly’s Public Health Committee.
An HIA is a relatively new process in the US that is designed to ensure that often overlooked or unanticipated health impacts are considered in proposed policies, programs, projects or plans, particularly in non-health sectors such as transportation, education, energy, housing, and labor.
The CASE Study Committee found that health considerations are often unintentionally overlooked in the development and implementation of policies in these non-health sectors. Taking health into consideration in the decision making process for policies, programs, projects and plans, the Study Committee reports, will make Connecticut a healthier place to live, promote a healthy workforce for its businesses, and potentially avert unnecessary healthcare costs in the future and contribute to disease prevention.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, Connecticut has the fourth highest per capita healthcare spending rate in the country, with chronic conditions accounting for an estimated 75% of that spending. The CASE Study Report shows that the state’s current approach is designed to react after decisions have been made rather than to proactively seek strategies to maximize health benefits and mitigate negative health effects.
As the study shows, HIAs use a flexible, yet systematic, analytical process and provide the basis for making changes to ensure health is appropriately considered during the development of policies, program, projects, and plans, when applicable. The Study Committee recommends that DPH lead the expanded use of HIAs by raising awareness, creating demand for the appropriate use of HIAs, and promoting the need for capacity development within the state to effectively conduct and participate in HIAs. The end goal is not just to conduct HIAs, but to use HIAs as a catalyst for integrating public health into the decision making process throughout all sectors and levels of government.
Visit the CASE website, www.ctcase.org, for further detail in the key points, executive summary or full report.