Helping Nonprofit Hospitals Navigate Community Health Needs Assessments

Helping Nonprofit Hospitals Navigate Community Health Needs Assessments

03/19/2020 Tags: Announcements, In the News

If you’re associated with a nonprofit hospital, you likely already understand the importance of the critical services these facilities provide. Often, those facilities serve rural areas where residents would otherwise have to drive hundreds of miles for treatment.

Those same nonprofit hospitals also face complicated challenges and regulations.

One such critical and complicated requirement is conducting a Community Health Needs Assessment — or CHNA.

According to the IRS, a nonprofit hospital must conduct a CHNA every three years. But that’s just where the government’s requirements begin.

At a high level, when a nonprofit hospital conducts a CHNA, they have to:

  • Define the community they serve.
  • Assess that community’s health needs.
  • Solicit and factor in feedback from those who “represent the broad interests of that community,” which includes those who have public health expertise.
  • Document their findings in a CHNA written report that “is adopted for the hospital facility by an authorized body of the hospital facility.”
  • Make the CHNA report widely available to the public.

After a nonprofit health facility conducts a CHNA, they’ll need to develop their implementation strategy. For every significant health need the CHNA identified, the written plan has to:

  • Describe how the hospital plans to address that need, or
  • Identify the need the hospital doesn’t plan to address and explain why.

In addition to the health needs the facility found through its CHNA, the implementation strategy might also describe a plan to address needs it identified in other ways. The hospital’s “authorized body” must also adopt the implementation strategy “on or before the 15th day of the fifth month after the end of the taxable year in which the hospital facility finishes conducting the CHNA.”

Obviously, there’s a lot of work, planning, and staff hours that go into completing and reporting a Community Health Needs Assessment. Plus, the penalties for failing to complete all of the requirements or not completing everything in enough detail are steep; nonprofit hospitals could be fined up to $50,000 or even lose their exempt status.

If your nonprofit hospital has questions about its CHNA — or any of the other challenges it faces — contact our Healthcare Team. We’re always happy you navigate the complicated world of healthcare!

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