Submitted

Every adult in Grayson County is being asked for their opinions on the healthcare needs of the community. Their answers will be turned into action plans and population health strategies for the next three years.

The Community Health Survey can be taken online by going to www.tlrmc.com or by a link on the Twin Lakes Regional Medical Center’s Facebook page. Paper copies of the survey are available and can be obtained by calling 270-259-9588 during regular business hours Monday through Friday. All answers to the survey are confidential. As an incentive to fill out a survey, participants can be entered into an optional drawing for one of the $50 Chamber Bucks given away through a random drawing. The survey closes on Dec. 21.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 requires nonprofit, tax-exempt hospitals such as Twin Lakes Regional Medical Center to assess the healthcare needs of their communities every three years and to adopt an implementation strategy to address the needs identified. Each hospital must make its Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) and Implementation Strategy widely available to the public. TLRMC performed a CHNA in 2012 and 2015, and is in the process of surveying residents for what will be the 2019 CHNA report.

“We (TLRMC) are dedicated to strengthening the overall health of the people we serve,” said hospital spokesperson Bill Oldham. “In the past, we employed a mixture of different methods, and, quite frankly, intuition to assess the health needs of our communities. Hospital leadership, outside healthcare consultants, physicians, Board of Directors and others then adjusted services to meet those identified needs. The Community Health Needs Assessment is much more specific and data driven.”

Once the survey results are tabulated, the results will be combined with relevant demographic data for the county then reviewed by local health care partners, community leaders, and representatives of the many groups served by the hospital. A final CHNA report will be published in the second quarter of 2019.

Identifying the area's most pressing health care needs is only the first step.

“It doesn’t help anybody if we just do the survey and create a pretty report with colorful graphs,” said Oldham. “The top healthcare needs identified will be given to the Population Health Committee for them to work on improving over the next three years.”

In the past, the Population Health Committee has worked to reduce secondhand smoke in public buildings; to improve dietary health through the Wallace Avenue Community Garden, MyPlate efforts, and supporting the local farmers’ market program; and ongoing efforts to increase the amount of healthy living information available.