A Content Analysis of Nonprofit Hospital Community Health Needs Assessments and Community Benefit Implementation Strategies in Philadelphia

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Context:Nonprofit hospitals are mandated to perform a community health needs assessment, develop an implementation strategy to address community needs, and invest in improving community health through community benefit investments in order to maintain the tax exemptions afforded nonprofit hospitals.Objective:We sought to describe the regional health needs identified across community health needs assessments and the portfolio of implementation strategies reported to address those needs.Design:The study provides a content analysis of community health needs assessments and implementation strategies for nonprofit hospitals in one urban region.Setting:The study focused on nonprofit hospitals in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.Main Outcome Measures:Community benefit documents were coded to characterize health needs and intervention activities using the 4 health factor categories of the County Health Rankings framework: clinical care, health behaviors, social and economic factors, and physical environment.Results:Hospitals predominantly identified health needs related to access to care, especially mental health and dental care, and insurance coverage and costs of care. In many instances, there is little alignment between needs identified through the community health needs assessments and the reported implementation strategies. Specifically, dental care, behavioral health, substance abuse, social factors, and health care and prescription drug costs were all cited as important community needs but were infrequently targeted by implementation strategies.Conclusions:Nonprofit hospital community health needs assessments in Philadelphia predominantly identify needs related to access to care and to some extent health behaviors. There is incomplete alignment between the needs identified in hospital assessments and the needs targeted in implementation strategies, underscoring a need for regional coordination in community benefit investments. Improved regional coordination between hospitals serving the region may offer the opportunity to eliminate duplicative efforts and increase the amount of funds available to address unmet needs.

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