Petersburg Community Health Needs Assessment (2001)

Beth Landon, MBA, MHA
Janice Troyer, BS
Carl Hild, MS
Jenny Loudon, MPA
Stacy L. Smith, MFA

With funding from the Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Program, the Petersburg Medical Center (PMC) contracted with the Alaska Center for Rural Health (ACRH), UAA in May 2001 to conduct a community needs assessment. The purpose of the assessment was to determine the community’s priorities for its health care system, to determine its satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the scope and/or quality of current hospital services, and to explore community expectations for future health services. The assessment included four components:

  • Focus groups and key informant interviews,
  • Organizational review,
  • Scope of services review, and
  • Community-wide goal-setting meeting

The “owner” of the project was a local community Planning Group. The ACRH Study Team worked closely with the Petersburg Community Planning Group to develop the focus group and interview questions, to identify focus groups, and to coordinate both focus groups and interviews. They also assisted in planning the community-wide goal-setting meeting. All project actions were carried out with the full knowledge and direction of the Community Planning Group.

The Alaska Center for Rural Health acted as the lead agency, but the project was a collaboration of experts and organizations. Staff from the University of Alaska’s Insti­tute for Circumpolar Health Studies (ICHS) assisted in collecting and analyzing the qualitative data. Barbara Doty, MD, performed the Scope of Services Review. Peter House, University of Washington School of Medicine, led the Organizational Review and Community-wide Goal-Setting Meeting. ACRH staff assisted Mr. House in that site visit.

All collaborators found that Petersburg Medical Center offers a wide array of primary care services of high quality to its community. It is an exemplary model of a well run facility and will lend itself well to the planned conversion to a critical access hospital through MRHFP.