In response to citizens expressing concerns about access to health care services in Williston, in September 2019, Mayor Howard Klug announced that the concerns expressed by citizens were heard and the City Commission would take action to address such concerns.
City leadership understood there were gaps in the availability of health care services and recognized action is needed to improve and sustain health care services for the residents of the region.
At the October 22, 2019 City Commission meeting, the City Commission approved a contract between the City of Williston and Cardon Global, LLC to conduct a community health care needs assessment.
The goal of the health care needs assessment was to gather information to inform leadership in order for the city to develop a plan to address community concerns about access to and the delivery of health care services. It was agreed the assessment would include focus group meetings and an online survey to secure input from citizens and stakeholders. The information gathered would be summarized in a report for the commission, which would assist the commission in developing a plan to address the identified needs.
The health care needs assessment included focus groups, an online survey, and discussions with leadership at Catholic Health Initiatives, as well as other interested stakeholders.
There were four facilitated focus group meetings. Individuals from the community were invited to participate and the facilitated discussion allowed attendees to articulate their views about the current status of health, current and future health care needs, as well as options and priorities to address the identified health care needs.
The online survey augmented the focus group meetings and was designed to capture input from additional citizens and stakeholders, based on themes identified in the focus group meetings. The survey was available from January 3, 2020 through January 17, 2020.
A total of 1,233 people took the online survey. Of the questions that were asked, all 1,233 answered the majority. A total of 927 were reported to have completed the survey through the final question that required them to provide the city, state and postal code in which they live.
It is evident from the input received from both the focus group meetings and the online survey that the citizens of Williston (and the surrounding area) are proud of their community and Northwest North Dakota and want their community to meet the needs of the people who work and live here. Overall, the comments demonstrate hope and expectation that health care gaps will be addressed.