CCHD conducting local health assessment across nine-county region, with Montgomery County recruitment beginning Feb. 4

February 1, 2013

Beginning this month, the Center for Community Health Development (CCHD) in the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Rural Public Health is conducting the fourth local health assessment across a nine-county region.

The assessment includes a survey, with recruitment in Montgomery County beginning the week of Feb. 4.

Like the health assessments in 2002, 2006 and 2010, its purpose is to gather both individual and community information that can provide a “snapshot” of the health status of the local community and document community issues that may need to be addressed to improve the local population’s health.

Assessment data can assist local health care and related service providers, community organizations, policymakers, and residents in making informed decisions on improving access and minimizing barriers to care, creating efficiencies in the delivery of care, and participating in the development of local health care improvement strategies.

Previous assessments were focused on the Brazos Valley region of Brazos, Burleson, Grimes, Leon, Madison, Robertson and Washington counties. This assessment will expand its geographic scope to include this area along with Walker and Montgomery counties.

This geographic increase is to align with Regional Healthcare Partnership 17 (RHP 17), which was organized in March 2012 to develop a regional health care delivery system transformation plan under the state’s 1115 Medicaid Transformation Waiver. The focus on the RHP 17 region has led to a new name for the assessment, now called the 2013 RHP 17 Health Assessment.

Assessment findings will be released at an RHP 17 Health Summit in September.

As in previous years, the assessment process includes a household survey, community discussion groups and an analysis of existing data that will provide context and comparison for the data gathered through the survey and discussion groups.

CCHD has been working with a data committee comprised of regional health and social services representatives and CCHD-affiliated faculty to develop the household survey. The market research firm
ETC Institute has been contracted to recruit residents from the nine-county region to take this survey.

The recruitment process will consist of contacting residents via phone – both landline and cell – to request participation in the survey, which then will be mailed to the participant with a self-addressed stamped envelope for its return. Survey recruitment will be from Feb. 4 to May 3, with all surveys returned by the end of May.

CCHD is again partnering with its community advisory board, the Brazos Valley Health Partnership, to facilitate community discussion groups across the region. These groups are designed to capture the various perspectives of community members that are more difficult to obtain in a survey format.

CCHD will meet with various audiences, including health care and human service providers, community leaders, and the general public. It anticipates conducting more than 80 discussion groups in the region, beginning in February.

The results from the assessment will assist local organizations and communities in understanding the health-related needs of their residents. In the past, assessment results have been used to secure funding to develop and improve health infrastructure and access to care. Locally developed initiatives have focused on issues like rural transportation, mental health services, service coordination, patient education, physical activity and medication assistance.

For more information about the 2013 RHP 17 Health Status Assessment, go to www.CCHD.us.

— Rae Lynn Mitchell

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