Tower Health Produces Community Health Needs Assessment

Tower Health has produced its 2022 Community Health Needs Assessments (CHNA) for its hospitals serving Berks, Chester, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties.

Community health needs assessments have been required of tax-exempt hospitals since the enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in 2010. These assessments, conducted every three years, create an important opportunity to improve the health of communities by providing Tower Health and its community partners with a means to identify the region’s health priorities and determine a collective way forward.

Tower Health CHNA data was collected regionally and reported for the service areas of Reading Hospital, Phoenixville Hospital, Pottstown Hospital, Chestnut Hill Hospital and St. Christopher’s Children’s Hospital.

The project engaged more than 4,000 community members and leaders in each hospital’s service area through stakeholder interviews, leadership and health equity focus groups, and community surveys. key and community informants. A health care provider inventory that highlights organizations and agencies that serve the community was also created.

Based on this work, the priority areas identified by the CHNA for the next three years are:

• Access to equitable care

• Behavioral health

• Health education and prevention

• Health Equity

With health equity as the goal, ‘access to care’ (a priority of previous CHNAs) evolved into ‘access to equitable care’. Equitable care means the provision of care whose quality does not differ according to characteristics of the patient or group of patients such as age, sex, geographical location, cultural origin, ethnic origin, religion and socio-economic status.

We have almost finalized an implementation strategy with the help and support of our community partners in each hospital. Implementation is a key part of the CHNA process and provides specific goals, action items, measures, and community partner responsibilities that will serve as a roadmap for the health system for the next three years. Once finalized in November, this information will be publicly available on our website.

Our community partners are essential to the successful development and delivery of programs, education and services to our patients, their families and our community as a whole. We know that when community organizations contribute their strengths and ideas, we are all stronger — collectively and individually — and can have a more meaningful impact for the members of our communities.

Tower Health completed its last CHNA in 2019 and has since run several successful programs in each of the hospitals’ communities:

At Chestnut Hill Hospital, the dedicated team of physicians and resident physicians have volunteered to provide free screenings and educational programs for children at summer camps, seniors at local centers and people at high risk in need of support and care.

At Phoenixville Hospital, Caring for Our Community – “In this Together” has evolved into a community collaboration that provides the knowledge, skills, resources and expertise to meet the health needs of the diverse community served by the hospital. ‘hospital. The collaboration’s mobile COVID-19 vaccination clinic has delivered thousands of vaccines to seniors, at-risk populations, schools and other groups, improving access to care and promoting health equity . In addition to the mobile vaccination clinic, Phoenixville Hospital has also partnered with the Chester County Health Department to provide COVID-19 vaccines at a local community vaccination clinic.

In January 2021, Pottstown Hospital launched its Street Medicine Program to increase access to health care by providing primary and urgent care to unhoused people in the Pottstown area. To date, over 150 patients have been assessed by Tower Health Medical Group clinical teams who have volunteered their time (over 280 hours to date) and expertise to the program.

Reading Hospital’s Community Connection Program (CCP) screens patients for potential needs such as access to food, quality housing and reliable transport. Eligible patients are assigned a community health worker to reduce barriers to care, refer them to community organizations and provide clinical support.

Between September 2018 and April 2022, PCC, using the Responsible Health Communities model under a $4.5 million cooperative agreement between Medicare and Medicaid Service Centers, performed 142,208 screenings for 53,756 patients and opened 6,378 cases navigated with a community health worker.

Tower Health’s latest CHNA is part of our ongoing commitment to focus on the holistic health of the communities we serve. We are proud to work with our community partners in this important work.

Desha Dickson is Vice President of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and Community Wellbeing at Tower Health.

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