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Marcus Daly Memorial Hospital is hosting four independent Community Health Needs Assessment meetings throughout Ravalli County during the week of Feb. 5.

MDMH CEO John Bartos said the meetings are an opportunity for the community to be heard.

“First of all, we want our community to inform us what they believe we are not providing as a community hospital,” Bartos said. “What the community tells us, we respond to. A number of years ago the community said to us they wanted well-trained ER physicians, the support staff and facility. Today, we have state-of-the-art ER with all residency-trained, board-certified ER physicians.”

Bartos said that eight years ago, the Internal Revenue Service and congress wanted the not-for-profit hospitals to conduct a survey of their communities.

MDMH complied and conducts a community assessment survey every three years. In addition to the community survey meetings, the hospital held 18 individual interviews with leaders in the community, school superintendents, school nurses, and Ravalli County Public Health, to hear what those leaders were hearing in the community as well.

“We find it more than a mandatory requirement; we find it informative,” Bartos said. “We find it gives us the direction people want us to take. We listen to the responses, address each request and ask – can we financially, physically do it? Will it take us a couple of years to accomplish what they want? Is it a demand that we are hearing from a number of individuals?”

At the assessment six years ago, the hospital received a clear message from the South Valley that residents there wanted a primary clinic. After strategic planning, the hospital opened Bitterroot Physicians Clinic South on the north end of Darby.

Three years ago they held another community assessment and heard from community members near Victor of the need there, so the hospital opened Bitterroot Physicians Clinic North in Victor.

This year the assessment meetings will be held in Stevensville, Victor, Hamilton and Darby. Bartos said he is eager for the results.

“Is there a specialty position that we need in the community?” Bartos asked. “Is there a special service, i.e. dialysis, needed in the community? This is an outreach to the residents of Ravalli County and opportunities for them to say what their community health needs are.”

The community assessment meetings will be an interactive environment with an independent accounting firm conducting the assessments.

“We asked them to do it independently so that we get an independent view,” Bartos said. “The public will not be talking to hospital staff – it is independent. They will write up the report and give it to the hospital board.”

Anyone can attend any session in any location.

“We are trying to make it convenient for the people in the four communities,” Bartos said. “Individuals can let us know where the request is coming from.”

The meetings will be held 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 6, at MDMH, 1200 Westwood Drive in Hamilton; noon to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 7, at the Darby Community Center, 106 West Main in Darby; 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 7, at Stevensville High School Library, 300 Park St. in Stevensville; and 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 8, in the Mary Stuart Rogers Performing Arts Center, 425 Fourth Ave. in Victor. Doors open at each location a half hour before the meetings start.

Needs Assessment Reports for 2013 and 2015 can be read in the Darby Community Public Library, Bitterroot Public Library, North Valley Public Library or online at under Patients & Visitors, For Community.

Bartos said he encourages the community to share their needs in the survey report.

“I find it beneficial and the hospital board finds it beneficial,” he said. “We read it and include it in our new strategic plan for the next two years.”

Also, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 8, Dr. Anthony Navone with the Marcus Daly Cardiology Clinic and the International Heart Institute of Montana is teaching a Health Education Class on heart health.