The Washington Times-Herald

January 18, 2013

DCH launches health needs survey

Special to TH
Washington Times Herald

WASHINGTON — What is your opinion about health and medical issues in our community?

What are the most important issues that you face?

These are just two of the questions on a community-wide health needs survey now underway in the community. Organizers are seeking your input on the survey that’s being conducted through Feb. 28.

Survey organizers formed as the Daviess Community Hospital Health Partners Advisory Group last fall. They said the survey is the first step they are taking to identify health needs in the community, from the public’s perspective.

Results from the comprehensive survey along with statistical data including census trends, health statistics, and area demographics will be used by the health partners to identify priority areas that are keys to improving health.

Following analysis of the information, the health partners said they will work with health and medical organizations throughout the community, including those in Daviess and surrounding counties, to develop a  three-year plan to address identified needs. Both survey results and the plan will be made available to anyone and to any organization. 

During the three-year plan, the health partners will track progress and adjust plans. At the end of the period, the process will begin again and the survey will be conducted in order to measure overall success and initiate the development of a new plan.

Although DCH must conduct a community health needs assessment survey and complete a comprehensive plan every three years in order to meet new regulations outlined in the 2010 Affordable Care Act, Jeannie Burks, the healthpartners’ chairperson and a member of the hospital board, says the establishment of the group, in conjunction with the survey and plan, exceed what’s required for the hospital.

“It is a best practice among health systems to not only survey the community and develop a plan, but to have such a group, like our Health Partners, leading this effort.  Those serving on the Health Partners Group represent a cross-section of the diverse communities Daviess Community Hospital serves. They participate in and oversee this project and then recommend priorities and actions to the hospital board,” said Burks.  “In this way, we ensure that we not only survey our community and develop a plan, but we do so based on the broad perspectives of our community.”

The Washington Carnegie Public Library, 300 W. Main St., is working with the health partners to offer access to the online survey as well as assistance to complete the 10- to 15-minute survey.

The survey is available online at www.dchosp.org, or in paper form.

“We will help anyone in the community complete the survey whether it be on-line or on paper,” says library Director Teresa Heidenreich. “The library is pleased to be part of this project that will ultimately enrich the lives of our community.”

Community members of the Health Partners Advisory group include Jeannie Burks, chairperson; Shelly Deem; Dr. Larry Sutton; Dr. Bryan Porter; Kathy Sullender; Brenda Sobecki; Cindy Barber; Beth Kirsch; Sharon Cullen; Natalia Welch; Sam Baker; Steve Foddrill; Richard Smith; and Diana Maryfield.