The IRS Requires Hospitals to Conduct Community Health Needs Assessments
As part of the IRS 990 regulations, hospital organizations are required to conduct a Community Health Needs Assessments, which serves as a guiding document for strategic planning. Through the process of developing a Community Health Needs Assessments, a hospital positions itself to address local health needs that are not being met. Below is an excerpt from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Health Policy Snapshot series.
Nonprofit hospitals are required to provide benefits to the communities they serve to keep a tax-exempt status. Nationwide, about 2,900 hospitals (60% of hospitals) are nonprofit, and the financial benefit to these hospitals from being tax-exempt is estimated to be worth $12.6 billion annually. New community benefit requirements under the Affordable Care Act include community health needs assessments and improvement plans, as well as additional consumer protections on financial assistance, billing, and collections practices.
The benefits of the new requirements go beyond improving health — they include enhanced accountability for hospitals, more effective use of resources, and building community capacity and engagement in addressing health issues. Assessing community health needs and adopting a strategy to address those needs provides hospitals with a valuable opportunity to work together with community partners to identify strategies for improving health, quality of life, and the community’s vitality.
BRHPC Provides Community Health Needs Assessments Service
BRHPC has access to a myriad of local data sets to facilitate the process of conducting a Community Health Needs Assessments that allows agencies and hospitals to ensure compliance with IRS 990 requirements.
In the process of conducting a Community Health Needs Assessments, quantitative and qualitative data sets from primary and secondary sources are gathered and studied. These elements are considered in the prioritization of issues, goal setting and integration into strategic planning for Broward County. As part of the process, each hospital convenes a Community Advisory Council to guide the process, review the data, identify unmet needs/service gaps, and prioritize needs. BRHPC presents the findings in final reports.
BRHPC Experience with Community Health Needs Assessments
BRHPC has contracted with Memorial Healthcare System, Holy Cross Hospital and Broward Health to conduct Community Health Needs Assessments in Broward County.
BRHPC has also contracted with Boca Raton Regional Hospital and Bethesda Healthcare System in Palm Beach County to gather data and compile their Community Health Needs Assessments in collaboration with the Health Council of Southeast Florida.