Chaffee County Public Health Launching Access to Care Survey

Chaffee County Public Health (CCPH) is excited to announce that it will be launching a county-wide, comprehensive Access to Healthcare Survey on May 15th in collaboration with the League of Women Voters of Chaffee County. The survey will provide the community with vital data about the strengths, needs, and opportunities for improving our local healthcare system.

Local public health agencies are mandated to conduct a Community Health Assessment (CHA) every five years, laying the foundation for a comprehensive Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP). This plan outlines strategic objectives and purposeful initiatives aimed at addressing the top priorities identified in the assessment. In the 2021 CHA, Access to Healthcare was identified as a primary health priority, thus becoming a cornerstone of the 2022-2026 CHIP.

Assuming the role of chief health strategist within their communities, local public health agencies like CCPH possess a unique vantage point for delving into this data. A robust Access to Healthcare survey includes questions related to primary care, behavioral health (mental health and substance use/addiction), hospital services, specialties, public health, vision, hearing, cost of care, insurance, and so much more.

CCPH is aware there are many challenges to understanding and accessing healthcare, and over the years has implemented many health navigation programs to help residents access the care they need. After consulting with several community members who have various invested interests in our healthcare system, as well as leadership from some of our largest healthcare providers, CCPH is taking the lead in creating and distributing a thorough survey to further understand access to healthcare issues. The goal of this survey is to identify solutions to strengthen the healthcare landscape. Data from the survey will also inform and strengthen CCPH’s health navigation program and others that work in a similar sector.

Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center and the League of Women Voters of Chaffee County have expressed their support in this endeavor and have committed to helping CCPH distribute the survey. As a token of appreciation, CCPH will incentivize people who spend the time to take the survey by entering their contact information into a drawing to win $50 grocery gift cards at their consent. The survey will be available electronically and as a hardcopy and will be in English and Spanish. A QR code will also directly

link a person with a smartphone to the survey. The survey will be open to the public through July so that at least 10% of the county has a chance to complete it. It can also be found at www.chaffeecounty.org on the main page. The link to the survey is: bit.ly/accesstohealthcaresurvey. A final report will be compiled in late summer and shared widely throughout the county. Ultimately, the report will be a resource for future healthcare prioritizing and strategic planning, creating a more equitable environment. It can also be used for grant applications when resources are limited but the need is great. CCPH and its partners will be promoting the survey through the end of July, and agencies, organizations, and employers are encouraged to help CCPH spread the word about it.

“This survey is our chance to collect meaningful data, both quantitative and qualitative, about our local healthcare system and the feelings and behaviors that surround it. It is meant to be a tool to address the concept of “access to healthcare” and to help guide program development and possible partnerships and collaborations in the future,” says Andrea Carlstrom, Director of CCPH.

“The Healthcare Access Survey is a critical step towards developing a quality improvement plan for Chaffee County’s citizens as they navigate and receive services from our healthcare system. Health is a major component of quality of life and consumes a major portion of our financial resources. CCPH has been a leader and champion for health in our county and we really need every person in Chaffee County to fill out this survey. It most decidedly is not ‘just another survey’ and will be used to identify the strengths and weaknesses of our county healthcare system. The survey participation needs to be very robust. I would like to see at least a 50% citizen participation,” says Carol Merovka, MD, League of Women Voters of Chaffee County.

To pick up a paper copy of the survey, call 719-539-4510 or stop by the main CCPH office during business hours at 448 East 1st St, Suite 137, Salida, CO 81201. Paper copies will also be available while supplies last at various places throughout the county. Call CCPH for more information.

Dan R
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