Written by Jaimee Green
Community members in Wolf Point and Poplar will receive a survey form in their mailbox this week from Northeast Montana Health Services. The public is being asked to take the time to complete the survey in an effort to improve their access to quality local healthcare. Survey responses will be a guide toward determining new services and programs offered by NEMHS.
Those who complete the survey will be entered into a drawing for a $250 Visa card.
The Community Benefit Survey is a federally mandated assessment survey that must take place every three years to ensure NEMHS is able to continue providing health care services as a designated 501(c)(3) organization.
By completing the survey, residents are helping NEMHS recognize local health care concerns and determine what services the community would like to see provided locally.
“We understand that people are very busy, but it is vital we receive a high return rate on these surveys or we will have to repeat this entire process. We want residents to be active participants in their health care and part of that process includes assisting us with knowing what services is a priority to them,” said Peg Norgaard, CEO, NEMHS.
The survey has been mailed to a random sample of residences throughout Poplar and Wolf Point and will help NEMHS identify the health services needed in the community. This information will be used for strategic planning, grant applications, new programs and by community groups interested in addressing health issues.
The survey will help the NEMHS governing board prioritize assets. One of their most recent priorities has been the purchase of a 4D-Echocardiogram machine which will allow healthcare providers to detect certain cancers and monitor heart conditions.
Survey results will also help determine future medical equipment purchases.
“While obviously there are some services, such as brain or heart surgery, we will likely never be able to provide, this survey is a great opportunity for community members to voice their opinions on services they want that we can provide for. It also gives us an opportunity to explain why some services are simply not possible,” Norgaard said.
The assessment process promotes health care as a local affair. Quality health care delivered in rural areas is necessary to the good health of the entire community. Citizens in Poplar and Wolf Point can take responsibility for the health of their community by completing the survey they receive in their mailbox.
“Most communities face complex issues in providing quality health care to their rural citizens. Survey responses will help NEMHS engage in effective problem solving, which is the most important factor in the survival of rural health care services,” said Tina Strauser, community relations director for NEMHS.
Residents who return a completed survey in the pre-stamped envelope provided will automatically be entered into a drawing for a $250 VISA card from NEMHS through Independence Bank. The drawing winner will be announced Dec. 20 through local media and contacted personally.
The National Rural Health Resource Center in Duluth, Minn., is assisting NEMHS in the analysis of local needs, use of local health care services and overall community health. This process was developed to maintain quality health care to serve the continuing and future needs of the area.
Surveys must be mailed to the National Rural Health Resource Center by Dec. 17.
For more information, contact Strauser at 768-6113.