Community members in Richland County and surrounding areas may have received a survey in their mailbox. This survey was sent to a random sample of homes on March 11, 2022 and will help Sidney Health Center to identify 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.
This project, administered by the Montana Office of Rural Health and funded in part through the Montana Health Research and Education Foundation (MHREF) Flex Grant, will assist the hospital in an analysis of local community needs, use of local healthcare services and overall community health. This process was developed to maintain quality healthcare to serve the continuing and future needs of the community.
The community health assessment process promotes healthcare as a local affair. Citizens of rural counties can take responsibility for the health of their community by completing the survey they receive in their mailbox. Most communities face a large number of complex issues in addressing the health and wellness of their citizens, but fortunately, Richland County can engage in effective problem-solving, which is the most important factor in the survival of rural health services.
An accompanying goal of this process is to keep healthcare dollars within the local community. While the vast majority of healthcare can be provided locally, rural citizens often drive to large medical centers for care, spending money on healthcare 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- healthcare provider linkages.
Sidney Health Center’s services include an acute care (25-bed) hospital, clinic area, cancer care center, certified sleep center, retail pharmacy and an extended care facility offering a complete range of services from birth through end-of-life. These primary areas are complemented by several outpatient services including radiology, laboratory and rehab services to name a few.
“I encourage anyone who receives the survey to take the time to complete it,” stated Jennifer Doty, Chief Executive Officer of Sidney Health Center. “The information gathered through the assessment process helps us align our strategic initiatives, organizational goals and service lines with the community needs.”
“We are pleased to be able to bring some of the best community health resources to Richland County. 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 Natalie Claiborne, Assistant Director, Montana Office of Rural Health.