Bothwell Regional Health Center has completed its Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA), and the report was approved by the Bothwell Board of Trustees at its May meeting.

As a nonprofit hospital organization, Bothwell is required by IRS tax code to conduct a CHNA every three years. The goal of the assessment is to understand progress in addressing community health needs outlined in the previous CHNA and collect current community health perceptions. Feedback allows Bothwell to understand what community members see as the most important health issues affecting their communities and provides the foundation for prioritizing health needs and developing strategies to address future needs.

The full CHNA process, which took nearly six months, involved collecting and analyzing primary data including community survey results, feedback from focus groups and hospital data, as well as secondary data derived from multiple sources on community health indicators in Pettis and Benton counties. More than 300 people completed the online survey and 50 people attended two in-person focus groups, one in Sedalia and the other in Warsaw.

Bothwell CEO Lori Wightman said that in addition to being a federal requirement, the information learned in the process and final report is vital to the organization’s future health care planning.

“It’s always a good idea to take the pulse of the communities we serve, and the health needs assessment does just that,” she said. “From survey answers to face-to-face communication in the focus groups to data about social, economic and health factors, behavioral risk factors and community lifestyles of the people who live in the area, the information tells us a lot about how we’re doing and what other work needs to be done.”

After a review of the 2019 findings, current data, survey results and the focus group findings, mental health, substance abuse and heart disease and obesity were identified as the current priority health issues in the area.

Wightman said the next step in the assessment process is developing a written implementation strategy that helps ‘move the needle’ and addresses community members’ awareness of and education level of good health practices and healthy lifestyle choices.

“Just as getting and gathering this data is important, what we do with it is equally or more important,” she said. “We can’t just put the report on a shelf and let it gather dust. We’ll use the information to continue providing access to high-quality care and educating that screenings and better health and lifestyle decisions lead to better health outcomes.”

The 2022 Community Health Needs Assessment is posted on Bothwell’s website at www.brhc.org/resources/community-health-needs-assessment/