Schneck reveals top community health needs

The survey results are in.

The area’s top health issues were determined through people taking Schneck Medical Center’s Community Health Needs Assessment in 2021.

During a recent board of trustees meeting at the Seymour hospital, Kathy Covert, vice president of workforce and support services, said the issues needing addressed between 2022 and 2024 are drug use and abuse, mental health treatment and facilities, affordable health care, tobacco use and cessation, obesity and access to food.

At the end of her presentation, she requested approval of the implementation plan for the assessment, and the board gave the OK.

So what’s next?

“We will continue to work with community partners to address these particular areas,” Covert said, adding the Community Health Needs Assessment will be made available on the hospital’s website. “That way, people can see results of focus groups, surveys and secondary data.”

The prioritized health needs also will be integrated into Schneck’s next strategic plan that will run from 2023 to 2025, Covert said.

“There’s already work in those prioritized areas going on by both Schneck and other organizations within the community that might be working on these issues, as well,” she said. “The board will receive updates on progress every year so we can report back what we or others in the community are doing to address those issues through partnerships.”

The assessment is done every three years to help Schneck better understand and address the key health and wellness concerns in the area, including Jackson, Jennings, Scott and Washington counties.

“Community engagement is critical to developing strategies and goals for improving the health of our communities,” Dr. Eric Fish, president and chief executive officer of Schneck, said in 2021 when the hospital encouraged the community to participate in the confidential health and wellness survey. “Part of assessing community members’ health care needs is getting their feedback.”

People could complete the survey on the Schneck website,, on its social media channels or via printed copies.

For this cycle, Covert said Schneck partnered with the Indiana Rural Health Association to complete the process.

The association’s methodology starts with focus groups, including business owners, local officials, providers, clergy and health department officials, to talk about the health-related needs of the community and determine the biggest areas of concern.

“From those focus group meetings, then there’s always a survey that is developed that goes out to the broader community to say of these types of issues, talk to us, community, about what are your greatest areas of concern,” Covert said.

Schneck looks at qualitative and quantitative data, including secondary data sources that would complement the focus groups and surveys to validate what the community says are issues.

Then once the results of all of that data are analyzed, the hospital prioritizes its areas of focus and develops goals around those, Covert said.

There are three goals.

“One, you want to improve the health status of residents in the area, help them have longer lives and evaluate the overall quality of life,” Covert said. “The second goal is to reduce health disparities among residents, looking at different demographic information, identifying those that are at highest risk from a health perspective in addressing those things and any disparities that might exist. The third goal is to increase accessibility to preventative services for all community residents.”