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Resources for Implementing the Community Health Needs Assessment Process

The Affordable Care Act creates an opportunity for hospital organizations, numerous governmental public health agencies, and other stakeholders to accelerate community health improvement by conducting triennial community health needs assessments (CHNA) and adopting related implementation strategies that address priority health needs. Under the Affordable Care Act, hospital organizations satisfy their annual community benefit obligations by meeting those new requirements which are described in section 501(r)(3). In addition, hospital organizations have new requirements for reporting and for paying taxes.

Background on CHNA

Principles to Guide a CHNA Process

Community health improvement is effective when it embraces a series of basic principles that can apply in many different settings, including

  • Multisector collaborations that support shared ownership of all phases of community health improvement, including assessment, planning, investment, implementation, and evaluation.
  • Proactive, broad, and diverse community engagement to improve results.
  • A hospital’s definition of community that encompasses both a significant enough area to allow for population-wide interventions and measurable results, and includes a targeted focus to address disparities among subpopulations.
  • Maximum transparency to improve community engagement and accountability.
  • Use of evidence-based interventions and encouragement of innovative practices with thorough evaluation.
  • Evaluation to inform a continuous improvement process.
  • Use of the highest quality data pooled from, and shared among, diverse public and private sources.

These principles support the National Quality Strategy, the “Three-part Aim” initiative of CMS, and the National Prevention Strategy.

Planning Resources

Data Resources

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