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Community Health Needs Assessment

What is a Community Health Needs Assessment?

A community health needs assessment is a systematic process involving the community to identify and analyze community health needs. The process provides a way for communities to prioritize health needs, and to plan and act upon unmet community health needs.

Community health needs assessments may be conducted by a variety of organizations. Each Critical Access Hospital (CAH) must conduct a Community Health Needs Assessment once every three years, as mandated by the Affordable Care Act. Local public health units seeking to gain or maintain accreditation must conduct a Community Health Assessment (CHA) every five years. Many methods exist for conducting an assessment, but generally include:

  • Stakeholder meetings
  • Community focus groups
  • Surveys
  • Interviews with community leaders
  • Population health and other health-related data

Understanding the Significant Healthcare Needs in North Dakota Communities

North Dakota's Critical Access Hospitals identified several different health needs through the 2011-2013 Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) process. Many individual communities selected needs similar to each other’s as the most significant for their community. The top needs across North Dakota were:

  1. Healthcare workforce shortage
  2. Obesity and physical inactivity
  3. Mental health, including substance abuse

To view and compare individual communities’ identified needs, click on the map below.

hospital map

Community Health Needs Assessment Reports and Implementation Plans

A hospital prepares a strategic implementation plan as a blueprint for meeting identified needs. A public health unit prepares a Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP). For a complete list of community health needs assessment reports, strategic implementation reports, and CHIPs, see the Individual Hospital CHNA Reports and Implementation Strategies.

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