Pennsylvania Hospitals Identify Population Health Needs through Community Health Needs Assessments
Community health needs assessments are being used by a majority of hospitals to assess population health needs. The process uses quantitative and qualitative methods to collect and analyze data to understand health within a specific community.
Once completed, community health needs assessment data informs hospital and community decisions about how to approach community health problems, and develop, implement, and evaluate improvement plans.
HAP has produced an interactive state map to help outline life expectancy growth trends from 1980-2014.
Affordable Care Act Requirements
Hospitals often work with other community organizations that have shared goals when undertaking a community health needs assessment.
Hospitals must adopt plans to meet the health needs identified, make the plans available to the public, and measure the success of the plans. For tax years beginning after March 23, 2012, hospitals must describe on their Form 990 how they are addressing these needs.
If they can’t meet certain needs, they must explain why. Any hospital that fails to meet the Affordable Care Act requirements for community health needs assessments is subject to a $50,000 excise tax.
Internal Revenue Service Requirements
The Affordable Care Act implements the needs assessment requirement through changes in the Internal Revenue Code. The Internal Revenue Service's Schedule H form and instructions address how not-for-profit hospitals report community health needs assessment activities on their Form 990. Additionally, Schedule H, Part V, incorporates the requirements of the Internal Revenue Code Section 501(r) as contained in the Affordable Care Act.
Addressing Food Insecurity
Collaborative Opportunities to Advance Community Health (COACH) is an initiative sponsored by The Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania that brings together hospital/health system, public health, and community partners to address community health needs in southeastern Pennsylvania.
Facilitated by the Health Care Improvement Foundation since its September 2015 launch, COACH has provided a structure for participants to explore collaborative implementation strategies as hospitals/health systems complete the current round of community health needs assessments and implementation plans mandated by the Affordable Care Act.
COACH participants have been working toward consensus on shared strategy(ies) for collective adoption and inclusion in implementation plans that were submitted during November 2016.
Through a structured process, COACH participants have prioritized strategies addressing healthy food access and access to care/services in order to promote chronic disease prevention and management.