In 2020, United Hospital District (UHD) commissioned a community health needs assessment to evaluate the healthcare needs of its service area: Faribault, Freeborn, Martin, and Blue Earth Counties in Minnesota, and Kossuth and Winnebago Counties in Iowa.
Community health needs assessments (CHNAs) are a planned and systematic effort to better understand the health needs of the community. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 requires tax-exempt hospitals such as ours to create a community health needs assessment every three years. This valued feedback from the community creates an important opportunity to identify key priorities and build valuable relationships to collaborate on solutions. CHNAs also provide an opportunity to improve coordination of hospital community benefits with other community efforts to create a healthy, vibrant population.
The CHNA requirements include:
To assist with the assessment, UHD contracted with the National Rural Health Resource Center, headquartered in Duluth, Minnesota. The Center is a nonprofit organization dedicated to sustaining and improving health care in rural communities. The Center conducted demographic analysis and statistical research and surveys for the focus groups and key community stakeholder interviews were developed.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the focus groups were held virtually. They included residents from several different communities in UHD’s service area and represented young parents, seniors, veterans, schools, businesses, healthcare consumers, and social services. The key stakeholder meetings were one-on-one 60-minute interviews and included representatives of education, law enforcement, local business, faith leaders, and other community and elected leaders.