To envision a stable Sharon Hospital of the future, the leadership team and board of directors have partnered with the Foundation for Community Health to study the development of a sustainable healthcare model to support medical needs in northwest Connecticut and northeast New York for years to come.
Intending to identify realistic and implementable best practices for the delivery of care in rural communities, the report will examine the demand for services and programs, in addition to fiscal and operational performance evaluations. With consideration for historic, current and anticipated community need, the review will also include insights from recent interviews and previous community health needs assessments, town halls, public hearings and the many community meetings held over the past 18 months.
The study is led by Stroudwater Associates, a private healthcare consulting firm that helps strengthen the vital role of hospitals and clinics in rural America across strategic, financial, clinical and operational areas.
“We share an obligation to improve the region’s quality of life with comprehensive programs that support our rural communities,” said Dr. Mark Hirko, president of the hospital. “This collaboration is an innovative step to ensure Sharon Hospital delivers sustainable care for the foreseeable future.”
Survey data, to be shared with the community upon completion, will offer key guidance as Sharon Hospital looks to adapt an operational and financially viable model of care aligned with best practices for rural hospitals.
“It is our hope that this study results in the development of an actionable plan for Sharon Hospital that will ensure its resiliency, enhance its responsiveness to the community and allow it to continue to play its historically critical role as an anchor for all healthcare services,” said Nancy Heaton, CEO for the Foundation for Community Health.
As the hospital and community work to evolve beyond the COVID-19 pandemic and other economic challenges, the study will bridge knowledge about barriers, trends and determinants to healthcare access in rural areas, such as proximity, affordability, utilization, resources, socioeconomic status and population demographics.
Funding for the analysis was awarded to Sharon Hospital by the Foundation for Community Health, also located in Sharon. The private, nonprofit foundation is dedicated to improving the health and well-being of residents in the greater Harlem Valley in New York and the northern Litchfield Hills of Connecticut, with an emphasis on serving those most vulnerable.