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It is essential to evaluate community benefit programs in order to improve
programs and ensure the effectiveness of actions taken to address significant
health needs in the community.
Community benefit program evaluation is important for compliance reasons as
well. The Affordable Care Act added requirements for tax-exempt hospitals to
assess the health needs of their communities every three years. The federal
regulations implementing those requirements specify that hospitals need to
include in their community health needs assessment (CHNA) reports an evaluation
of the impact of actions taken to address the significant health needs from
their immediately preceding CHNA report (Treas. Reg. § 1.501(r)-3). The intent
of these requirements is to increase transparency and accountability around
tax-exempt hospitals' obligation to improve community health.
This CHA resource, developed in collaboration with Vizient and the Healthy
Communities Institute, is designed to help community benefit leaders take a
systematic approach to evaluating and improving their programs and to meet their
legal requirements by applying the knowledge and experience of public health
program evaluation to community benefit programs.
While the resource is primarily geared to staff members who work in the area
of community benefit, it can also be used by others who need to understand how
to assess evaluation findings and use those findings in their work. Other
groups that may find this information useful include trustees; executive
leaders; strategy; population health; finance and communications staff;
community partners; and program participants.