Health assessment will take community input

BREMEN — A meeting to collect input about the health care needs of Bremen was well represented with town and community leaders, however, even more input is needed and requested by the area’s emergency health care providers.
Three facilitators (Jim Miller, Deena Dodd, and Ally Orwig) from the Indiana Rural Health Association (IRHA) led discussion on the strengths and weaknesses the Bremen community has and noted key factors the public in attendance thought made the biggest impacts on health care choices. Invited by Community Hospital of Bremen’s president and CEO Scott Graybill to conduct the study, IRHA’s overall findings will be sent to the Internal Revenue Service to fulfill a requirement that says the needs of the community should be assessed every three years. Graybill said the last time Community Hospital of Bremen had one done was in 2007 (for its own inquiry) with one done prior to that in 2000.
“As a hospital we’re normally looking at illness,” Graybill said. “The assessments provide us with information about health care as a whole which then enables us to take action as a health care provider, and others to step up as well, to meet those needs.”
IRHA, a not-for-profit corporation developed for the purpose of improving the health of all Indiana citizens in rural settings, was organized in 1997 with its founding organizers being committed to impacting the health of citizens through the identification of rural health issues and through advocacy roles in both the public and private sectors.
Data from the Centers for Disease Control determined the top 11 states with the most obesity problem included the state of Indiana, and recognized that more than 30 percent of the overall population is obese. Another study proved that 11 percent of the children in Marshall County presently live below the poverty level.
Dodd invited those present, which included school and town officials, club and business leaders, health care providers and the general public, to list what factors determine whether or not a person gets good health care so the survey could be more area- and demographic-driven. Strengths offered included good schools, strong service groups, churches and their members’ strong faith, good work ethics, strong family units, plenty of youth sports and opportunities such as Scouts and the local Boys and Girls Club. Things lacking that might contribute to causing ill health included no public transportation, young people leaving the community after graduation or college, few services for the homebound, many single-parent families, unemployment, high costs for health care, and limited or no insurance coverage.
The three IRHA representatives will compile the suggestions given Aug. 15 at CHoB to create a survey and will be back in mid-September to go door-to-door, business-to-business asking persons from every walk of life in Bremen what they think Bremen has to offer and what it lacks.
“We want to make sure the farmers are heard, the high schoolers … the elderly and the Amish,” said Graybill. The survey will be offered to the public online through the hospital’s website for those that might miss being contacted (or for their convenience) and a Hispanic version of the survey will be offered for those who’s second language is English.
The results of the survey will be complied and then revealed to the public as well as sent in to the government (before March 2014 in order for each hospital to retain its non-for-profit status). The H.R. 3590 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act states that in order to maintain tax-exempt status, not-for-profit hospitals are required to conduct a community health needs assessment at least once every three years, and adopt an implementation strategy to meet the needs identified through the assessment.
To meet the initial compliance obligation, hospitals are required to complete a needs assessment and adopt an implementation plan based on that assessment at some time during the period between the start with its first tax year that begins after March 23, 2010, and the end of its tax year that begins after March 23, 2012. A $50,000 penalty will be imposed on hospitals for failure to comply with the community needs assessment requirement in that initial – and any subsequent – applicable three-year period.