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Health assessment is important to improving care

This year, COVID-19 and its effects brought the awareness of personal health and the importance of living healthy to the forefront of our lives. We at UnityPoint Health want to be your partner in health in our community. In order to help us identify the priorities we are asking you to be a part of The Community Health Needs Assessment, a tool that will help Trinity prioritize the needs of our community for change.

Every three years UnityPoint Health – Trinity Regional Medical Center conducts this Community Health Needs Assessment. We reach out to community partners and leaders through interviews to better understand the health problems they are seeing. Meanwhile, we ask you, our community members, your thoughts on the health of our community. In general, the Community Health Needs Assessment is a way for all of us to use our voice to try to promote health and well-being.

In 2018, the Community Health Needs Assessment identified access to health care, obesity, and mental/behavioral health as areas of priority for Webster County. UnityPoint Health – Trinity Regional Medical Center then worked to combat each of these issues in various ways.

Through the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendment, the cost of these important labs are waived, allowing us to improve our access to health care services for our community. We renewed this license which allows a nurse to draw no-cost screenings such as lipid panels, Vitamin D, and A1C for low income or uninsured members of the community at the Community Health Center. Insured screening is also available every month for only $25 for each screening.

We also have representatives that sit on the Family and Community Action Team and collaborate with other community organizations to discuss ways the community can connect, how to keep children safe, and how to strengthen families regarding access to healthcare.

Trinity has collaborated with the community to combat obesity, specifically child obesity. Despite it being on hold this year, we continued to provide staff and resources for the THRIVE in-classroom Wellness and Obesity prevention program along with THRIVE swim. These programs promote health early on to kids to better the success of their long-term health.

The health of our community is a priority, and that idea extends to mental health. Since the last assessment, Berryhill Center has added Behavioral Health Urgent Care, expanded Substance Use Disorder Services, and supported a community-based support groups like National Alliance on Mental Illness for Fort Dodge. During the pandemic, virtual care allowed patients to receive services from their homes. Along with supplying more psychiatric nurses in the Trinity Emergency Department, our mental and behavioral health resources were able to improve in the ways we serve our community.

The 2018 assessment provided UnityPoint Health – Trinity Regional Medical Center with valuable information that resulted in community change. We need your help to make 2021 as successful as 2018. If you haven’t received one already, you will be receiving a post card that has more information about the survey along with the links to access the online survey. This post card has been sent to each household in Webster County.

The online survey can also be found also on our Facebook, and physical paper copies of the survey are available in the following locations: Fort Dodge Public Library, Community Health Center, the Webster County Health Department and The Lord’s Cupboard. As a hospital, we cannot stress enough the importance of taking the survey and gathering many diverse perspectives enough. The data we receive from the survey will be used to help plan Community Benefit activities and resources and make large strides to improve our community health.

If you have any questions about this process, or you would like a paper copy of the survey, please contact Hannah Dutcher at hannah.dutcher@unitypoint.org or 515-351-1351.

Leah Glasgo is president and CEO of UnityPoint Health – Fort Dodge

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