Community Health Needs Assessment: Targeting Your Community’s Unique Needs and Concerns

November 17, 2022
Ray Smith, administrative director of corporate communications, Southwestern Vermont Health Care, talks about his health system's community health needs assessment

Ray Smith, administrative director of corporate communications, Southwestern Vermont Health Care

Hospitals meet a vital need in the communities they serve. In 2016, hospitals spent $157 billion on financial assistance and community benefit activities across the country. To better understand the needs of the communities they serve, triennially, nonprofit hospitals are required by the Internal Revenue Service to complete a community health needs assessment (CHNA).

The CHNA gives organizations a comprehensive look at the health and concerns of the community. Based on that information, organizations plan for services and programs like transportation services for low-income patients or smoking cessation programs.

At Southwestern Vermont Health Care (SVHC), a 99-bed hospital with 25 clinics serving communities in Vermont, Massachusetts, and New York, the results of the 2021 CHNA revealed an opportunity to educate the community about their health needs.

“We’ve considered doing a publication for years, but it was never the right time,” says Ray Smith, administrative director of corporate communications at SVHC. “However, after this community health needs assessment, we found we really needed a means to educate the public, and we unearthed some really rich topics.”

Based on the community health needs assessment results, Southwestern Vermont created the Healthy+ magazine, a print publication covering a wide range of health topics tailored to the community.

“The responses to the CHNA gave us the template of how to make sure that we were able to reach out and the needs of key areas within our population,” says Pamela Duchene, Ph.D., APRN, chief nursing officer at SVHC.

In our new article, you’ll discover how SVHC found new and creative ways to reach members of its community, collect information on the community’s health needs, and provide resources to address those needs through its newly-established publication.

Specifically, you’ll learn:

  • How virtual communication methods allowed SVHC to connect with communities that are typically harder to reach in order to collect survey data
  • The four priority areas that the health system determined needed the greatest support within the community, based on the results of the CHNA
  • The various steps SVHC took to put together its publication and make it widely accessible to the community.

Read the full article here: Southwestern Vermont Health Care Creates a Magazine to Meet Information Needs Identified by Its CHNA

Best regards,
Matt Humphrey