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Health needs assessment meeting held in Pagosa

More than 50 community members turned out for the Community Health and Capacity Assessment held Tuesday afternoon at the Pagosa Springs Medical Center (PSMC).

The Assessment was a collaboration between the San Juan Basin Health Department (SJBHD), PSMC and Mercy Regional Medical Center.

With standing room only in the PSMC conference room, there were individuals present ranging from concerned citizens to local politicians, school faculty, elected officials, health care providers and others. Due to the 3 p.m. start time, there was an obvious lack of youth.

The health assessment correlates with each health entity’s legal obligation to compile a community needs health assessment and/or plan.

SJBHD director Joe Theine explained to the group that, in addition to fulfilling legal requirements, the health-based needs assessment will also help each health entity establish a direction to be taken in the future to best meet the needs of the community.

Meeting facilitator Marsha Porter-Norton made it clear that the purpose of this first meeting was to gather data and information from the community, not to participate in action planning.

The group was then split into four small groups, during which time main healthcare issues were discussed. Some of the major healthcare needs or issues brought forth by the group in attendance were: downtown healthcare accessibility, elder care, poor nutrition, cancer treatment, obstetrics, mental health, depression and suicide.

According to data handed out during the meeting, the suicide rate is higher in Archuleta County than La Plata County and higher in this county than the Colorado average.

No solutions were discussed. Theine explained that the information will be compiled and issues and gaps in current health coverage will be highlighted.

PSMC CEO Brad Cochennet said he thought the meeting went well. “I was pleased with the turnout and that people came ready to talk and share. They accepted the problems in the community and want to improve the current state of healthcare,” Cochennet said.

Dates for future meetings will be announced in The SUN.

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