Harlan ARH Hospital focuses on community health needs, priorities

Community Health Needs Assessment completed

Special to Civitas Media

In an effort to measure the impact of current public health efforts, identify respective health concerns and priorities and guide the appropriate use of local resources, Harlan ARH Hospital with the assistance of the Community and Economic Development Initiative of Kentucky at the University of Kentucky recently completed a Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) in the community.

This assessment consisted of the formation of a local steering committee made up of members from community organizations and businesses, distribution and completion of over 700 surveys and several community focus groups.

The results from all of these different forums were compiled, analyzed and priorities established for the next three years. This year’s final CHNA report for Harlan ARH is now available on ARH’s website along with the final reports for ARH’s other 10 hospitals. The full report can be found at www.arh.org/CHNA.

Some of the selected priorities from the recently completed CHNA process at Harlan ARH include increasing participation in educational programs for schools and communities, providing increased support for patients through navigation services, recruiting and retaining full or part-time medical specialists, providing support and programming for any community facility or program that will be focusing on community wellness/fitness and increasing communication to ensure community is aware of hospital services.

This recently completed CHNA process is the second time Harlan ARH has undergone this process. Three years ago, Harlan ARH Hospital chose priorities from that CHNA and has been focusing their resources on implementing those priorities over the past three years.

Four of those priorities are highlighted:

Increasing educational programs and services for disease prevention topics.

Harlan ARH successfully implemented a community-outreach, educational program called Lunch & Learn. Physicians or licensed staff provides presentations to the community. Monthly articles on various health topics by these healthcare professionals are published in the local newspaper. Completed quarterly educational and outreach programs on nutrition and physical fitness, cancer prevention and infection control to schools. Psychiatry implemented a quarterly Alzheimer’s/Dementia education program for family, caregivers and the public in collaboration with UK’s Sanders-Brown Institute using the V-tel system.

“We believe we have made much progress over the past three years in addressing those issues from our community assessment process for improving our delivery of care to the patients that Harlan ARH serves,” said Harlan ARH Community CEO Donnie Fields. “We have recruited several healthcare providers along with ancillary staff, procured equipment along with upgrades throughout the hospital. We also received accreditation and recognition from the JCAHO, Safety Leapfrog group, Hospice and community agencies.”

Improving communication, physician to patient.

Orientation of foreign-born physicians includes more emphasis on the nature of Appalachian culture and local history. Once here special focus is given to physician’s impact on patient satisfaction with hospital services. Physicians are provided with patient satisfaction results specific to them.

Improving communication, billing and reduced billing errors.

Initial FAQ-style information sheet provided for front line staff regarding issues from the Community Health Needs Assessment process.

Need more specialists.

Successful recruitment of full-time oncologist and urologist in 2015, replaced part-time providers. The hospital added a general/vascular surgeon to the medical staff. Since 2013, Harlan ARH added to its staff: Pulmonary/critical care specialist, family practice physician, two emergency physicians, a hospitalist and nurse practitioners for psychiatry and emergency.

With the success in achieving these previous CHNA priorities in mind, the staff at Harlan ARH has been able to listen and identify needs and concerns expressed by the community’s citizens once again with this year’s CHNA process, and the staff will continue to work in partnership with the community to execute the newly established CHNA implementation plan and realize the goals that have been positioned to build a healthier community — a healthier Kentucky.

Community Health Needs Assessment completed

Special to Civitas Media

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