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Community Health Needs Assessment
Assessing Community Needs

by Lisette Hudson, CHC VP of Planning

 

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requires not-for-profit hospitals to conduct a Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) once every three years – and develop an implementation plan to meet community health needs. Finalized in 2014, the requirements surrounding a CHNA are very specific.

 

Whether or not your hospital has 501(c)(3) status – which triggers the need to complete a CHNA – conducting an assessment of the existing health needs within your community is a best practice both for your hospital and for the patient population you serve. The following recommendations are designed to help you get organized, go through the development process, and produce an implementation plan.

 

The CHNA Development Process

 

Define and map your service area. To start, identify the geographic area you serve. Review patient origin data. Are there other available data sources that could help you more clearly define your area? At this stage, it’s important to identify the area based on where your patients currently reside.

 

Collect and analyze data. Assess your study area, including demographics and health status. What is the age and ethnic make-up of your service area? What about population growth? Are more families moving into your area, or is the population declining? Investigate mortality data, chronic disease categories and health behaviors. Identify minority populations and evaluate access to healthcare services.

 

Reach out to gather community input. You may be surprised about what your community really needs. Seek feedback from leaders and groups who represent broad community interests. Consider state and local governmental public health departments, members of medically underserved populations and minority populations, or even written comments received on your hospital’s most recently completed CHNA. Beyond these groups, input from other individuals and groups — including community leaders, local school districts and universities, health care consumer advocates, health insurance and managed care experts, or local Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) or Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) — could also be relevant.

 

Document and communicate results. Now it’s time to pull together and organize all the data you’ve collected for the CHNA, documenting:

  • A definition of the community you serve; your hospital’s mission, vision and values and study area demographics
  • Methodology and sources of data
  • Community input, health status of the area, collaboration with other organizations
  • A prioritized list of significant community health needs with an evaluation of the impact of any actions taken since completion of the previous CHNA
  • Description of how to provide feedback to the facility

Be Prepared for an Audit

Lastly – and important to keep in mind – some hospitals that are required to conduct a CHNA are now being audited. This applies to small or rural hospitals as well as larger systems. Here are a few things to keep in mind that regulators are looking for:

  • Whether your CHNA prioritizes community needs
  • Which needs your hospital will address
  • If the full CHNA report is prominently posted on your hospital website with access from your homepage
  • Documentation that your CHNA has been adopted by your hospital board

Need More Information?

You can learn more about CHC’s Community Health Needs Assessment and Implementation Strategy services – even download our CHNA process document -- or reach out to us. We have completed CHNAs and Implementation Plans for more than 70 hospitals across many states – from community health centers and critical access hospitals to specialty hospitals and large multi‐hospital systems. We are here to help.

Tags: Affordable Care Act, Community Health Needs Assessment, Community Service
Ways to Improve Rural Healthcare Delivery in Challenging Times

by Jim Coleman, CHC SVP of Southeast Hospital Operations

 

Rural and community hospital leaders – at the forefront in meeting community healthcare needs – frequently encounter challenges that may significantly impact operations and an organization’s long-term financial viability. From variations in patient mix to marketplace mergers and legislative reform, the environment continues to change.

 

To better position your facility for success, here are some best practice tips to strengthen access to care and delivery of services. Market customization, operational performance, and collaboration opportunities should be at the top of the list.

 

Customize your hospital’s action plan to your market

 

Use market demographics and payer mix data to think “outside the box” – every community is different. What works for one hospital may not be right for another. Adopt a strategic approach to evaluating new services and programs. Here are a few specific ideas that have worked for several CHC Consulting clients:

  • For markets with a high percentage of Medicare beneficiaries, heart disease, diabetes, and pulmonary conditions are highly prevalent, and a majority of those beneficiaries have multiple chronic conditions. If your market includes a high percentage of older adults with diabetes, a wound care program could be an appropriate service offering. To help keep more elderly patients with heart and lung conditions healthy and active, cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation services may be the answer.
  • For an aging demographic, depression and age-related illnesses often amplify the need for older adults and their families to seek specialized geropsychology care. Consider providing these services in both inpatient and outpatient settings
  • For rural hospitals seeking to increase the frequency and speed of specialty services, telemedicine technology provides clinical healthcare to many remote communities. Telemedicine extends specialized physician care to areas without the need for an onsite physical presence. Telemedicine can be particularly helpful for stroke patients who need prompt neurology services in order to achieve the best possible outcome.

Plan for the future

 

Annual strategic planning is vital to long-term success. The process should include an environmental assessment reviewing marketplace health needs along with medical staff planning. Proactive retention, succession planning and recruitment efforts are especially important in smaller markets where it can take longer to fill vacant positions.

 

Improve operational performance

 

Labor is the largest portion of a hospital’s budget. This means it’s critical to closely monitor and manage labor. Analyze staffing and match your workforce to the services needed; research scheduling options and cross-training opportunities to capitalize on efficiency. Could nurse practitioners, physician extenders or others benefit the hospital or community? In addition to labor, supply costs are one of the fastest-growing hospital cost centers. Carefully review your facility’s potential for savings on supplies and pharmaceuticals through a group purchasing organization (GPO) that specializes in community hospitals. Also, look closely at your revenue cycle for opportunities to improve revenue capture and collections.

 

Team up with area providers and agencies to meet community needs

 

Collaborative efforts including clinical affiliations with other hospitals or systems can improve population health management and care delivery. For instance, an affiliation agreement could bring a needed physician specialist to your community, a reasonable alternative to recruiting and supporting a medical practitioner on a full-time basis.

 

Government support can also improve access to community-based health care to broaden the services you provide. State and federal grant dollars support clinical and preventive services such as mammograms; funding is available for telemedicine services and health information technology as well.

 

Learn more about CHC Consulting solutions including CHC Hospital Operations Services, CHC Strategy Services, and CHC Supply Trust, a GPO just for community hospitals.

Tags: Community Health Needs Assessment, Hospital Management, Hospital Performance Improvement, Operational Assessment , Operational Improvement, Productivity Assessment, Supply Chain
Giving Back to the Communities We Serve

by Mike Williams, President and CEO, CHC

 

It’s a privilege to serve at Community Hospital Corporation, an organization dedicated to health, help and hope. Our calling is to guide, support and enhance the mission of community hospitals and healthcare providers around the country. One of CHC's core values is stewardship, a responsibility to share our individual gifts, time and talents to care for one another.

 

For me, sharing with others is a legacy from my parents etched in vivid childhood memories. The Salvation Army collected donations for families in need in front of stores during the holidays. Emblematic red kettles were positioned to accept the offerings, and Salvation Army bell ringers sounded a call to give. Coins dropped in the container would help children have a Merry Christmas — kids who weren’t likely to enjoy the sort of Christmas we had come to expect, my parents explained. Today, putting money in the kettle brings back fond recollections of home and the meaning of sharing. Ringing bells signify reverberating kindness. Now you can even create your own online red kettle to raise donations.

 

Community Hospital Corporation has supported The Salvation Army, the largest and one of the oldest charities in the United States, for the past 18 years. They provide food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless and much more. Through the years donations from individual employees — along with a corporate match — have exceeded $223,600. All CHC employees have the opportunity to contribute. This year, CHC’s philanthropic giving to The Salvation Army Carr P. Collins Social Service Center-Dallas totals $37,650. Employee groups will also help distribute gifts to Angel Tree families at the Center in Dallas on December 18.

 

In this season of giving, think about ways your health care organization could benefit the community, beyond patient care. There are countless opportunities. For example, Mother Frances Hospital in Tyler, Texas recently developed an internship program to teach high school students with disabilities how to transition from school to the workforce. These students are developing job skills leading to employment and greater self-sufficiency.

 

Take a close look at your community. Are there medically underserved groups in your service area? Unmet social services needs? Could new or enhanced services or programs improve the quality of life for area residents, including children and older adults? How can you reach out and help make life easier and better for others? Stewardship — partnership and service — comes into focus when you answer these questions.

Tags: Community Health Needs Assessment
ACA ruling mandates Community Health Needs Analysis. Isn’t it time you got started?

ACA ruling mandates Community Health Needs Analysis. Isn't it time you got started?

 

The Supreme Court has spoken. And though the justices may not have the last word on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (politicians are still debating), their ruling means the ACA is now the law of the land and hospitals must take action to satisfy its requirements.

 

One of the new requirements states that not-for-profit, charitable hospitals must conduct a Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) once every three years and develop a plan to meet the health needs of the community.

 

Like many hospitals, you probably have questions about the Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) and Implementation Plan requirements. Perhaps you’re wondering if your facility has the staff or time to complete the assessment and implementation plan. Perhaps you aren’t sure when your specific assessment and implementation plan must be completed.

 

This is where CHC Consulting can help.

 

At CHC Consulting, we take a flexible approach in working with our clients. We can complete the entire community needs assessment from start to finish or provide assistance in certain areas such as:

  • Data collection
  • Conducting one-on-one interviews, focus groups or surveys
  • Writing the report after your facility has completed the analysis

To learn more about the CHC Consulting Community Health Needs Assessment process and how we can help you meet the new regulations, contact David Domingue at ddomingue@communityhospitalcorp.com or visit the Community Health Needs Assessment page on our Website.

Tags: Affordable Care Act, Community Health Needs Assessment, Healthcare Reform , Hospital Board Advisory
Community Health Needs Assessments - Have questions? We have answers.

The passing of federal health reform legislation – the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – has already brought many changes to hospitals including four new requirements for not-for-profit, charitable hospitals. One of those new requirements states that not-for-profit hospitals must conduct a Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) once every three years and develop a plan to meet the health needs of the community.

 

Are you one of many hospitals that has questions about the Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) and Implementation Plan requirements? Do you wonder if your facility has the staff or time to complete the assessment and implementation plan? Do you know when your specific assessment and implementation plan must be completed?

 

This is where CHC Consulting can help. We use the six step process listed below.

 

At CHC Consulting, we take a flexible approach in working with our clients. We can complete the entire community needs assessment from start to finish (as described above) or provide assistance in certain areas such as:

  •  Data collection
  • Conducting one-on-one interviews, focus groups or surveys
  • Writing the report after your facility has completed the analysis

To learn more about the CHC Consulting Community Health Needs Assessment process and how we can help you meet the new regulations, contact David Domingue at ddomingue@communityhospitalcorp.com or visit the Community Health Needs Assessment page on our Website.

Tags: Affordable Care Act, Community Health Needs Assessment, Healthcare Reform

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