A report by the Hilltop Institute explains that non-profit hospitals are legally obligated to deliver community benefits, and they do. Back in 2002, the Congress’ Joint Committee on Taxation determined that non-profit hospitals delivered benefits to their communities–such as lower prices, charity care and health education–to the tune of more than $12 billion. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, they now must work with individuals, public health experts and community groups to identify ways to improve the care they deliver and better meet the needs of vulnerable individuals.
Every three years, hospitals must undertake a Community Health Needs Assessment (“CHNA”) in partnership with organizations and individuals working to meet the health needs of the community. The needs assessment identifies and prioritizes the greatest needs, as well as the community resources to address them and ways in which the hospital can meet them.
Of note, the law states that hospitals must engage “medically underserved, low-income, and minority populations” in their assessments. Community Catalyst has a new toolkit and resources to assist community organizations in working with their local hospitals and engaging vulnerable older adults in the needs assessment.