It’s time to check up on the overall health and needs of Yellowstone County.
The process started this week with the gathering of local advocates, leaders and content experts to begin an 18-month process to determine health status, behavior and needs of local residents.
Every three years Billings Clinic, St. Vincent Healthcare and RiverStone Health are required to do a Community Health Needs Assessment of Yellowstone County. The work is very detailed and data- driven, looking for the greatest concerns in areas such as health, nutrition, crime, affordable transportation, land access and personal safety.
“Our last one really prioritized healthy eating, active living, access to healthcare and then substance use,” said Melissa Henderson with Healthy by Design Coalition, when asked about the findings of the previous assessment. The coalition is a lead partner in the needs assessment work.
The preliminary work on the new assessment started on Monday with the gathering and training of the advisory group, made up of representatives from healthcare, the YMCA, United Way, city government and the US Attorney’s office among others.
“They will be asked to advise the overall community health needs assessment process," Henderson said. “That includes giving us input in the data analysis and the topics we address, as well as how we best engage the community and share the findings.”
The assessment is based on a detailed survey of some 400 residents representing the demographics of the county’s population.
The survey becomes the starting point for identifying the areas of greatest concern and where to commit resources to bring the greatest impact on Yellowstone County.
Results of the survey will be compiled and released to the community at the end of the year.
Funding comes from Billings Clinic, St. Vincent Healthcare and RiverStone Health.