Middlesboro ARH Hospital Focuses on Community Health Needs Priorities


In an effort to measure the impact of current public health efforts, identify respective health concerns and priorities, and guide the appropriate use of local resources, Middlesboro ARH Hospital with the assistance of the Community and Economic Development Initiative of Kentucky (CEDIK) at the University of Kentucky recently completed a Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) in the community. This assessment consisted of the formation of a local steering committee made up of members from community organizations and businesses, distribution and completion of over 1,000 surveys, and completion of several community focus groups.

The results from all of these different forums were compiled, analyzed, and priorities established for the next three years. This year’s final CHNA report for Middlesboro ARH is now available on ARH’s website along with the final reports for ARH’s other 10 hospitals. The full report can be found at www.arh.org/CHNA.

Some of the selected priorities from the recently completed CHNA process at Middlesboro ARH include: enhancing community outreach and health education, improving cancer treatment services in the region, enhancing drug rehabilitation services for expectant mothers, increasing communication in the community about hospital services, examining the availability of after-hours care, and seeking Level IV trauma center designation for the facility. 

This recently completed CHNA process is the second time Middlesboro ARH has undergone this process. Three years ago, Middlesboro ARH Hospital chose four priority recommendations from that CHNA and has been focusing their resources on implementing those priorities over the past three years. Those four priorities included:

  • Increasing educational programs with emphasis on prevention and early diagnosis and distribution of health information

Middlesboro ARH successfully implemented a community-outreach, educational program called Lunch & Learn. Health topics have included heart, stroke, urology, women’s screenings, bone health, fall prevention, weight loss and exercise, diabetes, when to call 911, skin rejuvenation and organ donation. Middlesboro ARH partnered with Middlesboro Mall to launch a community-outreach program called Paint the Mall PINK! This educational program focused on the importance of mammogram screenings and breast health, reached hundreds of women and their families and raised $2,400 for breast cancer research in two years.

“Educating the community on the importance of mammogram screenings through these community-outreach events, has resulted in an increase of mammograms scheduled at our hospital, and we recently received our first grant from Susan G. Komen, which will provide funds for our local breast cancer patient assistance program,” said Middlesboro ARH Community CEO Michael Slusher.

  • Providing adequate specialist coverage

Middlesboro ARH has added to its staff a full-time invasive cardiologist, a part-time dermatologist and a full-time certified nurse midwife.

  • Recruiting more physical therapists and enhancing orthopedics and sports medicine services

Middlesboro ARH offers all rehabilitation specialties including physical, occupational and speech therapy. Two full-time physical therapists and a full-time physical therapy assistant were hired due to increasing volumes. The Physical Rehabilitation Department also offers vestibular rehabilitation, lymphedema therapy and kinesio taping. For sports medicine outreach, Middlesboro ARH provided athletic training services to Middlesboro Independent Schools for boys’ football and boys’ and girls’ soccer.

  • Increasing the knowledge of the community about financial assistance options

Middlesboro ARH financial counselors received training via the state to become “Kynectors” and were very successful in helping patients enroll in the expanded Medicaid program. We also offered a public education program on understanding the Affordable Care Act and buying insurance on the health insurance exchange.

With the success in achieving these previous CHNA priorities in mind, the staff at Middlesboro ARH has been able to listen and identify needs and concerns expressed by the community’s citizens once again with this year’s CHNA process, and the staff will continue to work in partnership with the community to execute the newly established CHNA implementation plan and realize the goals that have been positioned to build a healthier community—a healthier Kentucky.


Middlesboro ARH Hospital is a member of the Appalachian Regional Healthcare (ARH) system. ARH is a not-for-profit health system operating 11 hospitals in Barbourville, Hazard, Harlan, Hyden, McDowell, Middlesboro, West Liberty, Whitesburg and South Williamson, Ky. and Beckley and Hinton, Wv., as well as multi-specialty physician practices, home health agencies, home medical equipment stores and retail pharmacies. ARH employs nearly 5,000 people with an annual payroll and benefits of $297 million generated into our local economies. ARH also has a network of more than 600 active and courtesy medical staff members. ARH is the largest provider of care and single largest employer in southeastern Kentucky and the third largest private employer in southern West Virginia, and is consistently recognized for its medical excellence.

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