U.P. health survey to be conducted

HANCOCK — If you receive a yellow survey in a clear envelope with your mail this week, it’s not junk mail. It’s a health survey from the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department.

The Western Upper Peninsula Health Department sent out nearly 24,000 surveys to random households across the U.P. and they are expected to be delivered early this week. The department is seeking information about health-related topics including insurance coverage, access to care and eating and exercise habits to help improve local health services.

“Only a few dozen people in our small U.P. counties are surveyed every year, so we don’t get good data for our local area. That’s our purpose with this, is to collect more data so we can make more accurate estimates of the health status of people,” said Director of Community Health Promotion and Education Ray Sharp.

This collaborative effort is the largest survey the department has ever done, in terms of both number of surveys and area covered.

“This is the first time we’ve done a survey across all 15 counties in the U.P. We have the support of 13 hospitals and all six health departments in the U.P. and the community mental health agencies and other healthcare partners and funders,” said Sharp. “We’re going to get good regional data, take that information and use it to develop health improvement plans so that we can all work together to really tailor health services in the U.P. to what our local residents’ needs are.”

The survey will arrive in clear and yellow packaging. It takes about 10 minutes to complete and is anonymous. There is also an option to fill out the survey online. Every household that is selected, and completes the survey by September 8th will be entered to win one of 28 grocery gift cards worth $50. The data collected with be compiled into a comprehensive community health needs report that will be available early next year.