What involves input from more than 22,000 community members, 366 community stakeholders and 69 focus groups? It is AdventHealth’s 2022 Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA), and those numbers represent larger-than-ever engagement in the process.
The 2022 CHNA is the fourth cycle of assessments, which are conducted every three years and are required of not-for-profit health care systems by the Internal Revenue Service. The publication in December of 44 CHNAs is the result of a rigorous process that began more than a year ago to gather in-depth information from AdventHealth hospital campuses across nine states.
As AdventHealth President and CEO Terry Shaw writes in an opening Letter From Leadership, “At AdventHealth, our mission of Extending the Healing Ministry of Christ goes beyond our walls. We are committed to addressing the needs of the communities we serve with a wholistic focus – one that strives to heal and restore the body, mind and spirit.”
Findings from each community’s CHNA are highlighted in detailed reports that provide the basis for determining key priorities to be addressed in a particular community. Even before the results of the CHNAs are publicly released in December, work begins on the development of a Community Health Plan (CHP) to address those specific needs. Those plans will be shared publicly in May.
“The goal is to improve community health through evidence-based interventions that will have education, research, financial and special program components,” said Andrew Mwavua, executive director of Community Advocacy for AdventHealth. To that end, he added, “The CHNA is a very intentional process that is undertaken to select the top two or three needs where we can have the most impact in the communities we are privileged to serve.”
Based on the 2022 CHNAs, mental health, behavioral health, and access to health care and preventive services top the list of priorities selected by facility boards of directors. While other needs in the community are often cited, the CHNAs acknowledge in one way or another that other community organizations are actively working to address those needs and are, therefore, better positioned to make an impact. Those organizations and the community programs they provide are referenced in the reports.
Because 80% of what drives health care outcomes occurs outside the walls of the hospital – socioeconomic and environmental factors as well as health behaviors – “we work to help those who have fallen through society’s cracks,” Mwavua said. “Ultimately, the goal is to fill in those cracks.”
Just how successful that work has been is highlighted in stories shared of Community Health Plan outcomes in the 2019 cycle. Just a few examples include:
- Addressing its mental health priority, AdventHealth Hendersonville in North Carolina partnered with Safelight, a local non-profit focused on addressing domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse. A physician assistant (PA) was hired to conduct child medical exams at the organization’s Believe Child Advocacy Center. AdventHealth Hendersonville’s PA completed 231 exams in 2021, and an additional medical provider was hired to serve more children in the region. In addition to the provider salaries, the hospital also helps underwrite the broader work of Safelight in the community.
- A focus for AdventHealth Shawnee Mission in Kansas was addressing chronic disease health disparities. With efforts concentrated on a one-mile area, more than 400 refugee families received resources to sign up for food assistance, 125 families received meal kits, and 811 residents took advantage of classes on nutrition and healthy lifestyle choices. When many food insecurity interventions shut down during the pandemic, Shawnee Mission worked with churches and community partners to create drive-through or walk-up food pantries, complete with a COVID-19 testing component.
- In the 2019 CHNA, AdventHealth Palm Coast in Florida addressed behavioral health as a priority. Among other things, data collected during the assessment found that Flagler County, where the hospital is located, had the highest rate of suicide in Florida. The hospital provided $25,000 to Flagler Cares, a local non-profit, to support Flagler County Village, a one-stop service location. The hospital also partnered with Flagler County schools and community stakeholders to increase youth access to psychiatric services, including establishing an annual fund to cover care for those in need for whom cost would be prohibitive.
“As we continue to build on the extraordinary community benefit work that is ongoing across the system,” Mwavua said, “AdventHealth’s goal of becoming a preeminent, faith-based, consumer-focused clinical company delivering whole-person care is being realized every day in ways that are measurably impactful.”
AdventHealth’s total community benefit investment totaled $2 billion in 2021.
To gain a deeper understanding of the Community Health Needs Assessment process, click here.