Community Health Needs Assessment

A Community Health Needs Assessment describes the community a hospital serves and identifies the health needs of the population. It involves a systematic collection and analysis of data to provide the necessary information for decision making. In the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, passed in March 2010, nonprofit hospitals are mandated to conduct a CHNA every three years and adopt an implementation strategy to meet the community health needs identified in the assessment. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a well-rounded CHNA uses the following principles.

  • multisector collaborations that support shared ownership of all phases of community health improvement, including assessment, planning, investment, implementation and evaluation
  • proactive, broad and diverse community engagement to improve results
  • a definition of community that encompasses both a significant area to allow for populationwide interventions and measurable results, and includes a targeted focus to address disparities among subpopulations
  • maximum transparency to improve community engagement and accountability
  • use of evidence-based interventions and encouragement of innovative practices with thorough evaluation
  • evaluation to inform a continuous improvement process
  • use of the highest-quality data pooled from, and shared among, diverse public and private sources
  • Resources
  • Top Health Issues
  • MO Hospital CHNAs
  • Implementation

Community Health Needs Assessment Resources

Top Health Issues Identified by Missouri Hospitals and Community Health Resources

Missouri hospitals identified 14 priority health issues through the CHNA process. These health issues are highly prevalent and cause significant health burdens to Missouri residents. Resources to implement successful community programs to address the issues are featured below. Click on a topic to view resources.

Access to Health Care



Cardiovascular Health

Chronic Disease Care

Dental Health


Health Literacy

Mental Health


Smoking Cessation

Substance Abuse

Wellness and Prevention

Women's Health Services

Missouri Hospital CHNAs

A CHNA Implementation Plan is a systematic process involving the community that identifies and analyzes community health needs, as well as community assets and resources, to plan and act upon priority community health needs. This plan is used by health and other governmental education and human service agencies, in collaboration with community partners, to set priorities and target resources. It is critical for developing policies and defining actions to target efforts that promote health.

The implementation plan should define the vision for the health of the community through a collaborative process, and should address the gamut of strengths, weaknesses, challenges and opportunities that exist to improve the health status of the community. Provisions under Section 501(r), added to the code by the ACA, imposes new requirements on 501(c)(3) organizations that operate one or more hospital facilities (hospital organizations). These hospitals must now conduct a CHNA and adopt an implementation strategy that meets the needs identified at least once every three years. The CHNA requirements are effective for tax years beginning after March 23, 2012. In addition, hospitals must complete an IRS Schedule H (Form 990) annually to provide information on the activities and policies of, and community benefit provided by, the hospital. The implementation plan should be updated as community needs and priorities change, hospital resources change, or based on evaluation results.