Many community members in Valier and elsewhere in Pondera County should have recently received a survey form in their mailbox. This survey was sent to a random sample of homes and will help Pondera Medical Center (PMC) identify health services needed in the community. This information will be used for strategic planning, grant applications, new programs, and by community groups interested in addressing health issues.

The Montana Office of Rural Health is assisting PMC in the analysis of local community needs, use of local healthcare services and overall community health. This process was developed to maintain quality healthcare to serve the continuing and future needs of the community.

The Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) process promotes healthcare as a local affair. Citizens of rural counties can take responsibility for the health of their community by completing the survey they received in their mailbox. 

Most communities face a large number of complex issues in providing high quality healthcare, but fortunately, Pondera County can engage in effective problem-solving, which is the most important factor in the survival of rural health services.

An accompanying goal of this process is to keep healthcare dollars within the local community. While the vast majority of healthcare can be provided locally, rural citizens often drive to large medical centers for care, spending money on healthcare and non-health care purchases that could be spent locally. It is estimated that within a typical rural community, millions of dollars of revenue is lost in this way. This revenue could be retained in the local community with stronger community healthcare provider linkages.

PMC’s services include the PMC Rural Health Clinic which has the following specialty services: Cardiology, Oncology/Internal Medicine, Pulmonology, Sleep Medicine, Ear Nose and Throat, General Surgery, Orthopedics, Ophthalmology Cataract Surgery. 

PMC’s services also include Endoscopy, Cardiac Rehab, Laboratory, Radiology and Ultrasound, Mammography, MRI, DME, Home Health, Sleep Studies, Nutrition Consultation and Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and Speech Therapy.

 “This entire process is so incredible. Every three years we start a new cycle with new projects, goals, objectives…and have the opportunity for more wins on behalf of our community,” said PMC officials.

“We are the hometown hospital and we exist for our beloved Pondera County. Giving our community the opportunity to give us their input is invaluable to us for our strategic planning and implementing. This is what it’s all about! We can’t wait to see what the new CHNA Plan brings and what successes will be in store for PMC and all of Pondera County.”

“PMC is pleased to bring some of the best community health resources to Pondera Medical Center. The goal of this initiative is to assist forward-thinking rural hospitals and communities in aligning their resources, to address their present and future needs in the best way possible,” said Natalie Claiborne, Assistant Director, Montana Office of Rural Health.

The CHNA goals, strategies and activities are closely monitored and updated quarterly with updates on accomplishments and anticipated impacts. The tracker is maintained all year long by several PMC personnel and is also available to view on our website. 

PMC celebrates many successes that are a result of two previous CHNA Cycles. Some of these successes include hosting our Annual Golf Tournament and Fun Run, holding an annual Health Fair to offer flu shots and lab panels at reduced rates, as well as taking part in several school and community events. 

PMC has had the opportunity to bring in more services deemed the most prudent by our community including Cataract surgery and Orthopedics. 

PMC has also increased our efforts to offer Wellness opportunities both internally and externally. Staffing needs have been met including bringing on a new Clinical Navigator and a new Provider aimed at increasing access to Women’s Services. 

PMC’s patient discharge protocol and transition process has also been looked at and improved. The facility has many wins regarding its CHNA efforts and is looking forward to assessing survey results and working towards even more great initiatives. 

To view the entire tracker and achievements, please visit PMC’s website at: www.pondereamedical.org.

For more information, or to take part in a key informant interview, please call Casey at Pondera Medical Center at (406) 271-3495.

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