The overall health of Sampson County residents is a priority for local health officials. In an effort to provide top quality health care, those officials are once again in the process of collecting data that will help meet the needs of area residents.
In partnership with the Sampson County Health Department, Sampson Regional Medical Center is collaborating with 33 other counties to continue work with the Regional Community Health Needs Assessment project.
“We are proud to continue our partnership with Sampson County Health Department as a part of the Regional Community Health Needs Assessment project in Eastern North Carolina,” Robin Palmer, community wellness coordinator with SRMC, said.
According to Palmer, the community health survey was conducted last year with hopes of hearing local residents’ opinions about current community health issues. Those surveys touched on a wide range of topics including community safety and recreation opportunities, housing and transportation options, vaccinations and nutrition, smoking and drinking habits, and chronic diseases.
The survey was the first step in the Community Health Needs Assessment process. As part of the Affordable Care Act, not-for-profit and government hospitals are required by the IRS to conduct these community health needs assessments every three years.
As part of the collaboration between other hospitals, health systems and health departments, the process requires all counties to be on the same survey cycle. Therefore, Palmer said, the hospital and health department are currently conducting surveys through June 30. Surveys can be found online at the 2018 Community Health Survey and paper copies, in both English and Spanish, are available at The Center for Health and Wellness as well as Sampson County Health Department.
Palmer added that completed surveys, which gives a better understanding of the health status and needs of the community, are needed from all demographic groups to make the assessment both accurate and successful.
“The knowledge gained from the survey will be used to implement programs that will benefit Sampson County and help other countries in eastern North Carolina,” Palmer explained. “The shared resources that the regional partnership provides will help us better address the major health and community issues in our county and in our state. The Office of Health Access in the Brody School of Medicine and Eastern Carolina University, along with the Foundation for Health Leadership and Innovation, has secured a grant that should go a long way towards improving population health in the east. The $320,000 award from The Duke Endowment has established a standardized regional community health needs assessment process for eastern North Carolina.”
According to Palmer, last year’s regional survey lead to the implementation of Journey to Health, a free eight-week program to be launched this fall at the local wellness center that is designed to help guide the community towards a healthier lifestyle and away from obesity.
“With the new collaborative survey and shared resources, we will continue to develop wellness programs like Journey to Health,” Palmer said. “The regional partnership will help us better address the major health and community issues in our county and in our state.”
Will Broughton, program director for Health ENC of the Foundation for Health Leadership and Innovation, said the infrastructure will create opportunities for new and better collaborations and partnerships among health organizations as they seek to identify the most effective health interventions for the populations they serve.
“It provides a third lens — a higher view — from which to look at health in eastern North Carolina,” Broughton said. “We have the health departments’ view, the hospitals’ view, and now an aggregate of data for the entire region. That should ultimately lead to an improvement in the quality and utility of population health data, the ability to compare and contrast ‘apples-to-apples’ information across geographic boundaries.”
The health department and other health care individuals and organizations are depending upon the completion of as many assessments as possible. All residents are asked to take the Sampson County Community Health Survey 2018.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.