Collaborative Community Health Needs Assessments: Approaches and Benefits for Critical Access Hospitals (FMT Policy Brief #36)

Publication Date: May 2014
Author(s): Gale J, Coburn AF
Research Center(s): Maine
Topic(s): Community Benefit

The primary purpose of this brief is to inform the efforts of state Flex Programs to support CAHs in conducting collaborative Community Health Needs Assessments (CHNAs). The results of these assessments can be used by hospitals as well as state Flex Programs to inform their ongoing strategic initiatives.

Key Findings:

  • Small hospitals and communities can successfully collaborate on CHNAs.
  • Collaborative CHNAs can serve as building blocks for a more comprehensive community health improvement strategy.
  • Data requirements for the community assessment obligations of CAHs, rural hospitals, public health departments, and community providers offer a key opportunity for collaboration and economies of scale in collecting and analyzing needed primary and secondary data.
  • Collaboration requires the development of trust and rapport among participants; the acknowledgement and management of imbalances of leadership, power, and resources; and recognition of each participant’s assessment needs.
  • Collaborative CHNAs can provide a foundation to engage diverse hospital, public health and other community stakeholders in the development of strategies to address identified community needs.

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