Regulatory and Accreditation Requirements

A number of organizations, including non-profit hospitals, community health centers and public health departments are required to conduct community health needs assessments and implement community health improvement plans as a requirement of statute or accreditation requirements.

Public Health Departments

A community health assessment (CHA) and a community health improvement plan (CHIP) are two of the three prerequisites required for application to the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) voluntary, national accreditation program for public health departments. [Source]

Community Health Centers

Health centers are non-profit private or public entities that serve designated medically underserved populations/areas or special medically underserved populations comprised of migrant and seasonal farmworkers, the homeless, or residents of public housing (section 330(a) of the Public Health Service (PHS) Act).  According to the first of 19 Key Health Center Program Requirements, Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), which receive Federal funding, and Federally Qualified Health Center Look-Alikes, which do not, must demonstrate and document the needs of their target population, including updating their service area, when appropriate (section 330(k)(2) and section 330(k)(3)(J) of the PHS Act).

Non-profit Hospitals

Community health needs assessments (CHNA) and implementation strategies are newly required of tax-exempt hospitals as a result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. These assessments and strategies create an important opportunity to improve the health of communities. They ensure that hospitals have the information they need to provide community benefits that meet the needs of their communities. They also provide an opportunity to improve coordination of hospital community benefits with other efforts to improve community health. By statute, the CHNAs must take into account input from “persons who represent the broad interests of the community served by the hospital facility, including those with special knowledge of or expertise in public health.”