Issue Brief: Community Health Assessment and Improvement Planning in Kansas
A two-year study has just concluded that examined the process of health assessment and improvement planning in Kansas communities. Community health assessment (known as CHA) is a process of systematically collecting and analyzing data about health, health care status, issues and needs within a defined population. Community health improvement planning (CHIP) is the step that follows, which utilizes results from the CHA to identify and implement strategies to improve health within that community.
In 2010, the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) issued the first set of criteria for use in the accreditation process of state and local health departments. Those criteria included requirements for health departments to complete community health assessments and community health improvement plans at least once every five years. Furthermore, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA) also set new requirements for tax-exempt, nonprofit hospitals to conduct community health assessments at least once every three years.
An issue brief and a report have been released that summarize the results of this study conducted by the Kansas Health Institute and the University of Kansas School of Medicine – Wichita, in a collaborative effort with statewide public health practitioners (i.e., health departments and hospitals). The information for this study was gathered through various focus groups and surveys about CHA/CHIP experiences and outcomes in Kansas between 2012 and 2013.
Key findings of the study showed that many CHA/CHIP activities have already been initiated in Kansas communities and have reported progress. In addition, public health practitioners (i.e., health departments and hospitals) have reported an increase of confidence to complete a CHA/CHIP.
“Community partnerships and collaboration were frequently cited as factors that contributed to successful CHAs,” said Barbara LaClair, M.H.A., senior analyst at the Kansas Health Institute. “Although few study participants had completed their community health improvement plans or implementation of health improvement strategies by the close of this study, nearly all participants were able to identify positive impacts of their CHA/CHIP work to date.”
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