Imagine a world where your local hospital asks you what you think about the health needs and access in your community? Imagine if that hospital then took your feedback and implemented it into its strategic plan to increase the health and wellness of your community? Well, that’s exactly what North Country Hospital is doing! Right now, and through the month of April, North Country Hospital is asking your opinion with their Community Health Needs Assessment.

What is a Community Health Needs Assessment? In short, it’s a completely anonymous survey offered to our entire service area about the health needs and access to resources in our area. This year NCH has partnered with UVM School of Public Health to make the survey as quick, easy, and accurate as possible. Within just minutes you can give your feedback on everything from healthcare access to specialists, transportation, drug and alcohol use and misuse to even sharing your opinion on transportation and discrimination.

Why does this matter? Because YOU matter! Every single one of you is a part of this community, and how you think and feel about our community matters. Only through working together can we be strong, transparent, and working towards a greater culture of health and wellness, and that maters! You are also a piece of the bigger puzzle.  Each of us holds a piece to this puzzle known as public health. One important way you can help is by sharing your opinions on the survey and in one of our town halls.

There are a variety of ways to take the survey. You can go to the  homepage and click on the “Tell US What You Think,” icon, you can check out North Country Hospital’s Facebook page, or go directly to this website:

Once you access the survey you will be asked about:

Social and Community Needs

Health Care Needs

Health Behaviors

Treatment and Health Care Services

Health Information Preferences

Along with demographics.

Thanks to the Community Health Needs Assessment that North Country Hospital performed in 2012, 2015 and 2018 we do have data that shows us how people used to think. The assessments that took place in the past were surveys administered throughout Orleans and Northern Essex counties, asking you, the community, what you thought about your own health, the health of the community and services offered in the area. But just as times change, opinions change too, which is why we want to see what matters most to our community members now. How have we progressed? Have we lost ground or missed certain areas? What’s working well? You tell us!

You can also join one of several virtual town hall meetings found on North Country Hospital’s Facebook Page. These town halls will be administered by our partners at UVM so you can speak with people who don’t already have preconceived notions about our area. Our hope is that these conversations will be meaningful and will help identify the leading needs and priorities in our community. With the opportunity to have these virtual Zoom® town halls we can get to a deeper level of understanding the needs and priorities that matter to you.

Every part of this process will be confidential. While we do ask for where you live, age and other questions in our demographics section of the survey, that is really so we can help you. If we see a trend that transportation is a greater need in some towns, we want to know that. If we find our seniors are more likely to desire greater access to specialty services, we want to know that. We encourage you to be as honest and candid as possible.

Our counties may be small in numbers of people, but they are mighty in their voices. Together by sharing what we think, we can then prioritize to make meaningful change and increase access in our area. No matter who you are, where you live in our service area, or if you are working or not working, no matter your gender or sexual identity; we want to hear from you! Only together we revise set goals, increase support, make changes, and hopefully increase a healthier mindset and lifestyle for everyone in our communities. Together we can address areas of need and areas that seem to be doing well.

In these next few weeks as you see ads, Facebook invites, and articles saying, “Tell Us What You Think,” we invite you to do just that. Whether you can spare less than five minutes on the survey or want to join us for about an hour at our town halls, consider yourself invited, welcomed and valued. In advance, we thank you for your cooperation, participation, and sharing. Take the survey, spread the word, and tell us what you think!