Yampa Valley Medical Center is starting a 2 1/2 week survey to learn what residents in Routt, Moffat and Grand counties think about the health care services offered in the area and how they could be improved.
"It will very much help us in our planning process," said Christine McKelvie, director of public relations for YVMC. "We're always planning ahead, but we just felt it was a very good time for a community survey."
About 750 residents will be randomly called and interviewed by trained surveyors. The questions will cover topics such as what type of medical care the person has received recently, what services they would like to have that are not available locally, and how aware they are of what services YVMC offers. The survey should take less than 15 minutes.
"We're just attempting to find out how, where and why people get their health care services," McKelvie said. "And also, specifically, what kind of services they have used in the past couple of years, so that we get a sense of what services are most needed."
The last time the hospital did such a community survey was in 1996, two years before the hospital's new building was constructed.
In that survey, residents answered questions about whether they thought the hospital needed more space, whether they approved of the selected location, what additional services were needed and more.
Through that survey, hospital officials heard loud and clear that a new hospital needed to be built, McKelvie said.
The survey also highlighted the need for complementary therapies such as music therapy, massage and aromatherapy, some of which the hospital has added to its services, as well as a need for a wellness library and education center, which the hospital also has added.
"We are gathering practical information," McKelvie said, and that information is put to use.
Karl Gills, YVMC chief executive officer, said it is important for residents who are called to answer the survey questions if it's possible.
"We encourage all residents who are called to participate in this important survey," Gills said. "This is an opportunity to help shape future health care services in our region."