• Engaging rural Georgians in Internal Revenue Service (IRS)-mandated community health needs assessments

      Lawrence, H Raymona; Nazaruk, Dziyana; Denis-Luque, Marie; Tedders, Stuart H.; Georgia Southern University, Georgia College and State University (Georgia Public Health Association, 2016)
      ABSTRACT Background: On March 23, 2010, President Barack Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) into law. The law became effective on March 23, 2012. The ACA stipulates that non-profit hospitals must demonstrate benefit to their communities through the process of community health needs assessments (CHNAs). Failure to comply with this law may result in loss of non-profit status or large fines. This report describes strategies for engaging rural communities in Internal Revenue Service (IRS)-mandated CHNAs. Methods: Public health practitioners from Georgia Southern University’s Jiann Ping Hsu College of Public Health collaborated with 18 rural, non-profit hospitals to complete community-specific CHNAs. Quantitative and qualitative data were gathered from primary and secondary data sources to provide a comprehensive assessment of the needs and the assets of each of the communities. Results: The project team assisted 18 rural, non-profit hospitals in assessing the needs of their communities. Technical reports provided to the hospitals described the issues discovered during the assessment. Hospitals were empowered to utilize the information to prioritize community- specific issues and to develop comprehensive plans for implementation. Conclusions: The CHNA process provides an opportunity to strengthen relationships between public health services and hospitals as well as between hospitals and the communities they serve. Hospitals need to identify and engage diverse sectors of the community in order to comprehensively assess the needs and assets of communities to address the social determinants of health and to reduce health inequities/disparities.
    • Leveraging university-community partnerships in rural Georgia: A community health needs assessment template for hospitals

      Robinson, Ayanna; Cherry, T Sabrina; Elliott, Michelle; Davis, Marsha; Bagwell, Grace; University of Georgia (Georgia Public Health Association, 2016)
      Background: Under the Affordable Care Act, nonprofit hospitals are required to conduct a Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) every three years. Using recommendations proposed by Georgia Watch, students and faculty members from the University of Georgia (UGA) conducted a CHNA for a hospital in a rural county in Georgia. The purpose of the CHNA was to identify community health problems and needs, as well as community assets and resources. The aim of this report is to describe the process for conducting the CHNA, the findings, and the lessons learned. Methods: The CHNA team consisted of students and faculty members from UGA’s College of Public Health and a Public Service and Outreach professional who worked in the community. In completing the CHNA, the team used the following fivestep process: define community, collect secondary data on community health, gather community input and collect primary data, prioritize community health needs, and implement strategies to address community health needs. Primary and secondary data were collected. Results: By triangulating findings across data sources, the CHNA team created a community health profile for the service area of the hospital. Based on these findings, the community identified four main areas for improvement, prioritized these health issues, and developed an implementation strategy for the hospital and community. Conclusions: The process used to conduct this CHNA can serve as a model for other rural communities undergoing similar assessments. Lessons learned from completing this CHNA can be applied to future CHNA efforts.