Community benefit activities such as health fairs have long been a part of the charitable mission of tax-exempt hospitals. The process for determining community benefit activities and the underlying needs of a hospital’s community has become more formal and complex due to new Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requirements for non-profit hospitals to conduct a “community health needs assessment” (CHNA) every three years. Hospitals must publish a report on their CHNA findings to avoid a $50,000 excise tax. Nonprofit hospitals in Arkansas have already completed the first round of CHNAs, and as many begin the second round, they are searching for more strategic implementation methods to address community needs. This is not only because of a heightened need to demonstrate community benefit at a time when expanded healthcare coverage is reducing the need for charity care, but also because there are new pressures under value-based payment models that reward providers for keeping people healthy. There is an increasing focus in Arkansas on upstream interventions to improve health and quality of life and to reduce costs related to preventable diseases. The second round of CHNAs offers an opportunity for aligned strategies to address health needs in Arkansas.
This fact sheet discusses hospital CHNA requirements, methods, and findings from the first round of CHNAs. Also included are opportunities for non-profit hospitals to consider in optimizing the second round of CHNAs to improve the health of Arkansans.