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COMMUNITY HEALTH NEEDS ASSESSMENT

Modifications have recently been made to the previous Community Health Engagement Process Facilitated by the Oklahoma State Office of Rural Health and Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service. The Community Health Engagement Process has been a popular program since its start over 17 years ago. More than 60 communities across the state have completed the process, and many of those have completed it more than once. The overall goal of the process was to create awareness of the local health sector, identify new services, and link local residents to local health services. The process itself took about four to six months, with a total of five to seven meetings. The main products derived from the process were:

While the success of the Community Health Engagement Process is evident, recent requirements from The Affordable Care Act have prompted several modifications. The passing of The Affordable Care Act in March 2010 included a new requirement for all 501(c)(3) hospitals (not-for-profit facilities) to conduct a community health needs assessment at least once every three years. The general idea behind is to gather community input that leads to recommendations of how the local hospital and health sector as a whole can better serve their residents. The needs assessment is one out of a total of four new requirements for 501(c)(3) hospitals included in the Affordable Care Act. The other three refer directly to financial pieces. Schedule H of IRS form 990 has been updated to include questions pertaining to all four new requirements.

In order to help hospitals and communities with this new requirement, the Community Health Engagement Process was reconfigured into the Community Health Needs Assessment. The primary differences are:

1. A deeper examination of location-specific health indicators and outcomes; 2. Including an analysis of the demand for primary care physicians for the service area; 3. The replacement of a telephone-based community wide survey with a participant based hand-held survey (placing the responsibility for gathering additional surveys on attendees); and 4. The construction of a prioritized list of community health needs and identification of potential remedies for their current health issues.

The recommendations derived from the process are then presented to the hospital board to determine if the facility can feasibly provide the new or additional services. The process is still envisioned to take approximately the same amount of time and number of meetings, but can be shortened or lengthened depending on the community’s needs.

At this time, only 501(c)(3) hospitals are required to conduct a Community Health Needs Assessment. However, there has been an overwhelming demand from hospitals not fitting this criterion that are interested in developing their own set of health-related community recommendations. Further, this new process is more detailed and results in a more comprehensive set of products than the traditional Community Health Engagement Process. Therefore, the Oklahoma Office of Rural Health and Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service have decided to transition to a single program, known as the Community Health Needs Assessment. This evolution reflects the Office of Rural Health’s desire to help with the increasing requirements placed on rural hospitals, and to promote a forward-looking attitude among all rural hospitals in the state.

Oklahoma Rural Health Works also provides community studies based on a variety of topics as needed. These topics include:

  • An Analysis of Emergency Medical Services
  • Demand For Kidney Dialysis Centers
  • Rural Assisted Living Facility Feasibility
  • Rural General Surgery Demand Analysis
  • Etc.

Contact Information

Lara Brooks
Rural Health Analyst
Oklahoma State University
One Western Plaza
5500 N Western Ave, Suite 278
Oklahoma City, OK 73118
Phone: (405) 840-6500
Fax: (405) 842-9302
Email: lara.brooks@okstate.edu

Corie Kaiser
Director
Oklahoma Office of Rural Health
Oklahoma State University
One Western Plaza
5500 N Western Ave, Suite 278
Oklahoma City, OK 73118
Phone: (405) 840-6500
Fax: (405) 842-9302
E-mail: corie.kaiser@okstate.edu

 
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