You can’t live in our area and not be aware that we as a community face challenges. Keeping up with rapid growth is a pain point which touches every aspect of daily life – from housing to schools to health care.
Working together with leaders and members of the community, CHI St. Alexius Health stands committed to addressing the expanding and changing health care needs for our region. That’s one reason why we as a health care facility eagerly participated in the Community Health Needs Assessment conducted by the Center for Rural Health.
Many don’t realize that every Critical Access Hospital in the U.S. must conduct a Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) every three years, as mandated by law. For Williston, CHNAs are administered by the Center for Rural Health (CRH) at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine & Health Sciences.
Each CHNA includes community focus groups, interviews with key constituents and a community survey. All community members are invited and encouraged to participate. Factors like demographics, health conditions, outcomes, rates of disease and at-risk behaviors are also considered.
Here in Williston, 345 community members completed the most recent CHNA survey. In addition, a group of 20 community members met in September 2018 to serve as a focus group about general health needs, concerns and suggestions for improving community health. One-on-one interviews with local constituents were also conducted by CRH representatives and covered topics like community concerns, delivery of healthcare by local providers, awareness of local health services and barriers to receiving health services.
For 2019, the CHNA report identified top concerns as ability to get health care appointments, availability of mental health services, ability to retain primary care providers, extra hours for appointments and having enough child daycare services.
To address some of these concerns, CHI St. Alexius Health Williston is working on extended hours for our primary care clinic and looking to expand our mental health offerings through tele-psychiatry services. We’re also bringing in new providers for family medicine, general surgery, occupational health and women's health. Starting in 2020, we plan to expand services we provide businesses with an Employee Assistance program, Occupational Health enhancements, Organizational Health services, Worksite Wellness program and more.
While these efforts are ongoing, it’s important to recognize that the CHNA report isn’t an endpoint but rather a launching point for working toward improving health care delivery in our community. An essential aspect of that process is continuing to talk and collaborate with our community members. Together, we can ensure health remains a pillar of our strong community.
If you’re interesting in learning more, the current CHNA report is available on our website, CLICK HERE.