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Houston County Courier - Local News

Copyright 2013 - Polk County Publishing Company

Under the microscope: Community health needs
Houston County Courier

By Lynda Jones

Changes in federal health care laws require not-forprofit hospitals to demonstrate community benefits, individually conduct a community needs assessment every three years and submit a community benefits plan annually to the state attorney general. During the past year, ETMC Crockett has conducted a community needs assessment that involved one-on-one interviews and data analysis. On Thursday, Feb. 21, individuals who participated in the interviews were invited to a luncheon where they could take a preliminary look at the 2012-2013 assessment results. At the luncheon, ETMC reported its comprehensive community benefits planning process combines primary research with targeted audiences, secondary data available from numerous sources, involvement of experts dealing with this issue, development of a plan with measurable outcomes and implementation of the plan. According to the presentation, the Crockett-based interviews included the Crockett mayor, the Crockett city administrator, the Houston County Courier (publisher), Central Baptist Church, Crockett Area Chamber of Commerce, Allstate Insurance, a car dealership and CASA. Respondents were asked the following questions: •What do you think are the greatest areas of healthcare need or concern? •What are the biggest obstacles to obtaining care? •What are the greatest healthcare needs among seniors, minority populations and the poor/working poor? •What are the greatest lifestyle concerns in the East Texas area: •What other challenges currently face your community? •What is your perception of ETMC's current efforts to address community healthcare needs? •How would you rate the availability and accessibility of primary care and specialty physicians? During Thursday's presentation by ETMC Corporate Director of Development Marty Wiggins and ETMC Crockett Administrator Terry Cutler, the following Houston County results were reported: Healthcare •Physicians/services needed: OB/GYN, pediatrics, cardiology, other specialists •High cancer rates; access to cancer care-radiation therapy •Mental healthcare - adult and pediatric •EMS concerns - response times and coverage area •Improve overall access to care/healthcare expense issues/prescriptions •Health education: Seminars on health topics, hygiene, prenatal care •Perception issues: Hospital and its relationship with the hospital district board; focus needs to be on stability of healthcare for the community Family and Lifestyle •


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