Extensive health survey spotlights many local needs

Monday, October 7, 2019

McCook offers as many healthcare services as some much larger communities, but a recent study and survey has found many areas for improvement.

Residents are worried about cancer and radon, unhealthy lifestyles, high mortality rates and preventable diseases.

They’re worried about the aging population, attracting physicians to our small community, access to mental health services and fair access to affordable health care, according to Community Hospital’s recently completed Community Health Needs Assessment.

Conducted every three years as an Obamacare requirement, creation of the document involves extensive data collection, phone interviews with community residents and focus groups.

“This needs assessment is about the community as a whole,” said Troy Bruntz, Community Hospital President and CEO.

“It involved so many in the community to develop, so we can truly identify and prioritize, from the voice of the community, the community’s needs. We know what we know, and others know what they know, but until you put it all together you can’t see the whole picture.” Bruntz said.

Using an electronic ballot prioritization process, the study process created five priorities based on the size and prevalence of the issue, effectiveness of interventions and Community Hospital’s capacity to address the need.

Hospital officials voted to find ways to address all five priorities identified in the assessment:

1. Prevention, education and services to address high mortality rates, chronic diseases, preventable conditions and unhealthy lifestyles.

2. Focus on the needs of the aging population.

3. Continued emphasis on physician recruitment and retention.

4. Access to mental and behavioral health care services and providers.

5. Access to affordable care and reducing health disparities among specific populations.

The next step is creating and implementing plans to improve conditions in each of those areas.

“This process is simply about improving the health of our community,” said Tricia Wagner, Community Hospital Community Outreach Coordinator.

“The time and input from the community during this process has been invaluable in helping Community Hospital identify, prioritize and plan to address the significant health needs in our community.”

You can download a copy of the complete document here.

Even if you’re not directly involved in healthcare, it contains a wealth of information about our community that many individuals and organizations may find useful.

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