Wrangell Medical Center Community Health Needs Assessment (2001)

Denny DeGross, MA
Beth Landon, MBA, MHA
Jenny Loudon, MPA
Sanna Doucette, BA
Janice Troyer, BS
Stacy L. Smith, MFA

With funding from the Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Program, the Wrangell Medical Center (WMC) contracted the Alaska Center for Rural Health (ACRH), University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) to conduct a community needs assessment. The assessment included four distinct pieces:

  • A mail out survey measuring community attitudes towards local health services and use of services;
  • An organizational review of the Wrangell Medical Center and its governance;
  • A scope of services review of the Wrangell Medical Center; and
  • A community wide goal setting meeting to solicit comment from Wrangell residents regarding local health care services.

The purpose of the overall assessment was to help determine the community’s priorities for the health care system including long-term care services, its satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the scope and/or quality of current hospital services, and its expectations for future health services.

A group of organizations and individuals collaborated in this project. The Alaska Center for Rural Health (ACRH), UAA acted as the lead agency. Their colleagues in the Institute for Circumpolar Health Studies, UAA (ICHS) assisted in development, implementation, and analysis of the survey instrument. John Riley, PA, performed the Scope of Services Review. Peter House, of the University of Washington School of Medicine, Program for Healthy Communities, led the Organizational Review and Community Wide Goal-Setting Meeting. ACRH staff assisted Mr. House in that site visit. Financial Consultants of Alaska (FCA) conducted the Financial Review under separate contract. Their data is reported separately.

A local Planning Group is a key component to any successful community assessment. The Wrangell Planning Group directed the assessment team’s activities and guided the overall project. Specifically, the ACRH Study Team worked closely with the Wrangell Planning Group to develop the assessment plan, develop the survey tool, and disseminate the survey instrument. Under a different but concurrent contract, the Wrangell Planning Group directed ACRH in an assessment of senior services for the city.

All collaborators found that Wrangell Medical Center and the local health system are doing well. There is widespread community satisfaction with local health care resources, which results in many residents choosing to utilize local medical services.