Community Health Needs Assessment Checklist
(Derived from IRS Final Regulations (501(r)) effective December 29, 2014)
The Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) identifies and assesses the health needs of the community served by the hospital. Each hospital facility must conduct a CHNA and adopt an Implementation Strategy every three years. The CHNA must be documented separately for each hospital facility. The CHNA is a written report that is adopted by an authorized governing body of the facility. The CHNA is “conducted” when it is completed, approved and made widely available to the public.
Defining hospital organizations
A CHNA can be conducted by hospital staff, an external vendor or as part of a community collaborative effort with other organizations. Any 501(c)3 organization operating a state-licensed hospital is required to complete a CHNA. Included are hospitals that operate indirectly through a disregarded entity, joint venture, LLC or an entity treated as a partnership for federal tax purposes that is U.S. based only. The final regulations require the section 501(r) requirements to be met by all hospital organizations that are (or seek to be) recognized as described in section 501(c)(3), including those that are government hospital organizations.
Download a PDF of the CHNA Checklist here (Must be a Registered Guest to view).
- Definition of the Community
- Assessment Process and Methods
- Required Input
- Significant Health Needs
- Assessment Distribution
Definition of the Community
Include a definition of the community served and describe how it was determined (the hospital’s service area). The community served determination is generally expected to be a geographic location. It may also take into account the target populations served (e.g., children) and principal functions (e.g., cancer center, long-term acute care).
Assessment Process and Methods
Description of sources and dates of data collected by the hospital facility and by other organizations.
A description of how the hospital included input from people who represent the broad interests of the community served by the hospital facility. It includes a description of how and over what time period the organization consulted with these people (meetings, focus groups, interviews, surveys, written correspondence, etc.).
Significant Health Needs
Identify the significant health needs in the community. Significance is determined by the hospital based on the “facts and circumstances” present in the community.
The CHNA must be made widely available and follow the requirements below:
A complete version of the CHNA report is conspicuously posted on the facility website and instructions for accessing the CHNA report must be clear. The posted report must reproduce an exact image of the printed report.
Selecting a Vendor to Conduct a Community Health Needs Assessment
The Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) identifies and assesses the health needs of the community served by the hospital. As a requirement of the Affordable Care Act, each hospital must conduct a CHNA and adopt an Implementation Strategy every three years. The CHNA must be documented in a written report that is approved by the facility’s authorized governing board. The CHNA is considered “conducted” when it is completed, approved and publicly posted by the end of the tax year.
Following are some questions to help you select a vendor/consultant to assist with your hospital’s CHNA:
Download a PDF of the Selecting a Vendor to Conduct a Community Health Needs Assessment here. (Must be a Registered Guest to view.)
Hospital preparation for vendor Interview
Potential questions for the vendor interview
A hospital may conduct the CHNA in collaboration with other organizations, including related organizations, other hospitals, for-profit and government hospitals, and state and local agencies, such as public health departments. However, each hospital must document its CHNA in a separate report. All or portions of the report may be identical to those of the collaborative partners.
A joint CHNA may be issued if the joint report is adopted by the authorized governing body of each of the collaborating hospitals; the hospital service area communities are defined the same way; the CHNA process is conducted jointly; and each partner hospital is listed in the joint report.
Mapping tools can help identify communities in need during the Community Health Needs Assessment process. Community benefit programs should focus on geographic areas with a high concentration of health disparities. Identifying low-income communities with a disproportionate number of unmet health needs can help focus resources where needs are the greatest.