Community Health Needs Assessment
Communities need to complete a Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA), a process to develop a strategic plan to improve community health and wellness, every 3 to 5 years. Federal and State Governments, Community Hospitals and Health Centers, Safety-Net Clinics, Community Dental Clinics, County Health Departments, and Community Development Organizations complete a CHNA for planning, funding, and achieving positive outcomes.
Beyond the legal requirement, health leaders in Rawlins County believe that by conducting a CHNA periodically, a snapshot of the overall health of the community can be captured and reviewed by the public with the goal of addressing the unmet needs. These needs may be appropriate for the health department, dental clinic, or health center to address, but some findings may require being addressed by other community groups or organizations. This process can be a conduit to collaboration. The survey data helps facilitate community
discussions to remove barriers which keep individuals and the entire community from thriving. There is no one definition of “community health need.” This is up to the interpretation of the stakeholders engaged in the process. To assess the health needs of the community, a broad representation of the community must be surveyed to identify the significant health needs of the population. Health requirements and potential resources are then identified. Resources can include organizations, facilities, and programs in the community, including those of the hospital facility, health clinic, dental clinic, or public health department, potentially available to address those health needs.