The Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) is part of the required hospital documentation of “Community Benefit” under the Affordable Care Act for 501(c)(3) hospitals and provides many strategic benefits which makes it a useful assessment for all hospitals regardless of not-for-profit status. The assessment provides comprehensive information about the community’s current health status, needs and disparities and offers a targeted action plan to address these areas, including programmatic development and partnerships.
Gunnison Valley Health, a 24-bed, critical access hospital in Gunnison, Colorado, completed a CHNA in 2019 and received 23 survey responses, one of the critical ways community input is incorporated in the assessment. Leadership sought a solution to increase community participation in identifying top health priorities and best meet community needs for the next CHNA.
Octave Leadership Advisory Services’ Solutions
Gunnison worked closely with Octave to identify and engage community stakeholders and increase participation for the 2022 CHNA.
Octave’s strategists identified opportunities for CHNA education to create a sense of shared ownership and commitment to improving the health of the community. Octave recommended expanding recruitment strategies to include email and social media campaigns as well as the use of QR codes linked directly to the CHNA survey on marketing materials. Hospital leadership supplemented these strategies with effective communication methods like postcard mailers, newspaper ads, flyers, and in-person solicitation to reach the greater community population.
By following recommendations, as well as understanding the communication techniques that work best in their community, Gunnison Valley Health received a total of 823 survey responses from community members – a 3,478% increase in response rate from 2019 to 2022. This response rate allowed Gunnison to get a better understanding of the top health needs in their community and create an effective strategy for addressing those needs.
“The Community Health Needs Assessment is extremely valuable as Gunnison Valley Health looks at future services and strategic priorities for the year. The assessment tells us what our community identifies as gaps in healthcare services, enabling us to work with our community partners and providers to best meet the needs of the community. That’s why robust participation from our community is so important.”Jason Amrich, CEO
Gunnison Valley Health