Hospital conducts survey to identify health needs

 From Prairie Community Hospital

Community members in Terry and Prairie County may soon be receiving a survey form in their mailbox.  This survey, sent to a random sample of homes, will help Prairie Community Hospital (PCH) identify the health services needed in the community.  The information will be used for grant applications, new programs and by community groups interested in addressing health issues.
Prairie Community Hospital has been selected by the Montana Healthcare Research and Education Foundation and the Montana Office of Rural Health (MORH) to participate in the Community Health Services Development Program (CHSD) with survey assistance from the National Rural Health Resource Center of Duluth, Minnesota.
Through the CHSD Program, Prairie County receives assistance designed to help communities stabilize their health care delivery system. This program was developed by the University Of Washington School Of Medicine. It has been used in other Montana communities as a way to develop and maintain quality health care to serve the continuing and future needs of the community.
“We are very excited about working with Prairie Community Hospital on this project,” said Kristin Juliar, Director of the Montana Office of Rural Health.  “The CHSD Program promotes health care as a local affair.  Health care delivered in rural communities is affordable, high quality, and necessary to the good health of the entire community.  Citizens of rural counties can take responsibility for the health of their community. Most communities face a large number of complex issues in providing high quality healthcare, but fortunately, Prairie County can engage effective problem-solving, which is the most important factor in the survival of rural health services.” 
Prairie County will receive assistance in identifying their most important health concerns through the use of an economic impact assessment and a community health survey that will be distributed to a random sample in the next few weeks.  The survey will analyze local community needs, use of local health care services and overall community health. Please look for that survey in your mailbox. The community will then have an opportunity to listen to the results and offer feedback at a town meeting in the fall. 
An accompanying goal is to keep health care dollars within the local community. While the vast majority of health care can be provided locally, rural citizens often drive to large medical centers for care, spending money on health care and non-health care purchases that could be spent locally. It is estimated that within a typical rural community, millions of dollars of revenue is lost in this way. This revenue could be retained in the local community with stronger community- health care provider linkages.
PCH is assisting in the development of this initiative.  Their services include 24-hour Emergency Care, Acute Care, Intermediate (skilled) Care, Long Term Care, Telemedicine, Outpatient services including Radiology and Laboratory and a Rural Health Clinic open 5 days a week, Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 5:00pm.
“With this survey, we hope to identify the citizens’ confidence, concerns and needs about the community health care delivery system in Prairie County, “said Parker Powell, Administrator at PCH
“We are pleased to be able to bring some of the best community health resources in the country to Prairie Community Hospital.  The goal of this initiative is to assist forward-thinking rural hospitals and communities in aligning their resources, to address their present and future needs in the best way possible,” said Terry Hill, Executive Director of the National Rural Health Resource Center.
For more information contact Powell at PCH at 406-635-5511.

Published August 24, 2011

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