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Dickinson's Community Health Needs Survey Open Through 7/26

CHI St. Alexius Health Dickinson Medical Center and Southwest District Health Unit team to seek input from area residents about community’s health needs

DICKINSON – In an effort to gauge the overall health needs of its eight surrounding counties, CHI St. Alexius Health Dickinson and Southwest District Health have partnered with the University of North Dakota Center for Rural Health to conduct their Community Health Needs Assessment. The CHNA process takes place every three years and is a critical tool in helping establish a baseline understanding of the health needs of Dickinson and the surrounding communities.

“The CHNA gives us a snapshot of where we sit in the region in regard to meeting the needs of our various stakeholders,” Manager of Mission and Ancillary Services for CHI John Odermann said. “It helps us see where we sit, but more importantly it helps us look at the landscape and see where we need to strategize for improvement in the future.”

The survey will be open from July 12th-July 26th and Odermann said they hope to receive a record number of responses this year. CHI plans to team with a number of entities in the community to send the survey out digitally.  Results of the survey will provide guidance to local health organizations on ways to improve community health and provide better services. The survey is part of a community health needs assessment initiated by the local hospital and public health unit.  Once the survey is completed the Center for Rural Health at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Science compiles the results, distills the data down into an understandable format and then creates the final report.

A key part of the process are two community meetings, the first of which will be held at CHI St. Alexius Health Dickinson in their conference rooms at 2:30 p.m. on July 27th. Also taking place that day will be 8-12 key informant interviews with individuals in the community who move health policy forward in the community and who have been identified as individuals with a unique perspective that can help strengthen the report through their experiences in the community or expertise.

“This process is not only valuable to the healthcare organizations involved. It helps cities, counties, and the state make plans for the future,” Odermann said. “It can also serve as a jumping off point for relationship building to help meet some of the identified needs. Until we know what we need to bring to the community, it can be difficult to pull the levers or reach out to the people who know which levers to pull. The CHNA helps us build a basis of support around a new business or strategic plan for the next 2-3 years, or even longer.”

The local health-related organizations strongly encourage all area residents to participate in the survey.  Surveys will be distributed to area residents through various channels, but mainly through digital communication and social media. All survey responses are anonymous, and there is no way to track responses back to individuals. Survey responses are returned to the Center for Rural Health to help ensure anonymity. Residents may access an interactive, online version of the survey at .

The survey will allow local health organizations to learn about community health concerns, learn of the community’s perceptions about local health care services being provided, hear suggestions to improve health in the area, learn about community assets and collaboration, and determine preferences for using local health care versus traveling to other facilities. In addition to specific questions, the survey also seeks general, open-ended input from residents about the community’s health needs and the delivery of local health care.  Completing the survey takes about 20 to 25 minutes.  

A periodic community needs assessment is one of the new requirements of the Affordable Care Act.  The new regulations require non-profit hospitals such as CHI St. Alexius Health Dickinson to assess the community’s health needs periodically. A health assessment is also part of accreditation requirements for local public health units.

For more information or to obtain a paper copy of the survey, please contact John Odermann, Manager of Mission and Ancillary Services, at 701.456.4287