The Roundup -

Roosevelt Medical Center Identifies Community's Top Health Concerns

 


Residents living within the service area of Roosevelt Medical Center, in Culbertson, identified alcohol/substance abuse (49.2%), cancer (48.1%) and obesity (34.4%) as the top-three area health concerns in the community, following the recent compilation of the healthcare organization’s community needs assessment survey.

Collectively, 49% of responders indicated they felt their community was healthy.

On March 19, a community-based steering committee meeting was held where attendees were asked to begin prioritizing the areas where the most benefits could be realistically gained for the collective community in the area of healthcare. Department managers at RMC have also begun a series of implementation meetings that will address the findings, prioritize and identify staff members to begin a plan-of-action for areas where changes can be made immediately.

“The survey results enable us to begin moving forward with positive changes that align with our strategic plan and mission of continuing to offer quality healthcare to the community. The goal throughout this entire process is ultimately to create a community where people are living happy, healthy lives with access to as many services, outreach and educational opportunities we can feasibly and financially offer,” said Audrey Stromberg, Administrator for RMC.

Within the community, there are a number of organizations that have resources dedicated to community health and wellness that RMC can partner with so that the community can collectively reach their common goal of wellness. “No organization, including RMC, has the human or financial resources to identify and independently implement the changes necessary to impact every area of concern. This has to be a community-wide effort,” said Stromberg.

Today, healthcare organizations are being tasked with focusing on population-health in community settings rather than illness-based care, which will require partnering with other individuals and agencies with expertise in some of the areas identified as needs or concerns. “We are hopeful that the steering committee will continue with its’ commitment to the work that was started and will be successful with engaging others in the work that needs to be to done to assure a broad-base of health services in our frontier community,” said Sharon Schmitz, Better Health Improvement Specialist for the Frontier Medicine Better Health Partnership.

The survey found that the top-three programs community members would like to see more of in their community were geared toward weight loss, women’s health and fitness; while the top three key components for a healthy community were access to healthcare and other services, affordable housing and healthy behaviors and lifestyles.

The top-rated services offered at RMC were ambulance and laboratory services and physical therapy, with an overall Quality-of-Care rating of “excellent” to “good,” with 3.3 out of 4.0. The services most received by the community were influenza injections through the clinic, routine check-ups and cholesterol checks.

The survey revealed the community’s desire to have local access to a dental clinic, (31%) fitness center, (16.6%) and message therapy, (14.1%). Those surveyed identified the top-three ways for improving access to quality local healthcare as adding more specialists, (38.3%), more primary care providers, (37.7%) and additional out-patient services, (30.1%).

The survey, mailed out in December to 880 random members within the community, was part of RMCs dedication to getting input from the community while meeting their obligations to maintain their non-profit status. Of the surveys returned, 58% of respondents were from Culbertson, 20% were from Froid and 9% were from Bainville. Of those, 59% were female and 38% were male, with a number of “no-responses” for the remaining percentages. The majority of the respondents were age 56-65, (26%). The remaining participants were between the ages of 46-55, (20%) and 46-55, (16%).

“It’s important for the community to realize that, at the end of the day, RMC still has to make decisions that are fiscally responsible to ensure the implementation of those new things identified by the community as essential don’t become a detriment to the organization’s bottom line. We are a non-profit organization, so it’s important for RMC and the community to find that compromise that best meets the needs of everybody,” said Schmitz.

RMC is part of the Frontier Medicine Better Health Partnerships project, which was formed to address the unique healthcare challenges faced by frontier healthcare. Throughout the state, there is participation from 24 other healthcare organizations.

The surveys were compiled by the Montana Office of Rural Health and Area Health Education Center in Bozeman and contracted through the National Rural Health Resource Center, of Duluth, MN. The project was fully funded through the Frontier Medicine Better Health Partnership Grant.

Historically, the community needs assessment survey has served as a vital tool that has helped RMC determine parts of the population most at risk for varying healthcare issues, as well as identify the top concerns of the community. RMC then uses this data to provide care and services through community outreach programs, preventative care measures and education.

In 2010 congress enacted the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act (PPACA), which put in place comprehensive health insurance reforms with the goal of enhancing the quality of healthcare for all Americans. This Act also required non-profit hospitals to complete a community needs assessment every three years in order to maintain their non-profit status.

To review the entire survey log onto http://www.rooseveltmedical.org

Copies are available at RMC for review.

 

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