A public health practitioner with a local health department recently contacted the Network with questions regarding the responsibility of non-profit hospitals to perform community health assessments that are filed with the state health department. The practitioner asked for more information about what states require such assessments and through what authority they are able to do so.
The Network researched the issue and coordinated with a number of experts from different organizations, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Public Health Institute. In response, the Network first addressed the general history of state reporting requirements for state-licensed non-profit hospitals, which have developed over the last thirty years as a result of an IRS provision that requires hospitals to report a monetary value for “community benefits” they have provided. However these regulations have become more explicit with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. This 2010 legislation introduced a number of new requirements for tax-exempt, non-profit hospitals, including a requirement that they complete a “community health needs assessment” to evaluate the health-related needs of their community and the efficacy with which they are addressing them.
In order to provide the practitioner access to more information about the details of these new requirements, the Network referred him to individuals at several organizations that work specifically on the issue of reporting standards for non-profit hospitals. These organizations included Community Catalyst and the Hilltop Institute. The practitioner expressed appreciation for the Network’s informative and timely response and was able to obtain a number of helpful resources from the individuals he was referred to.
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