Tower Health shares community health needs assessments
Reports available for Chestnut Hill, Phoenixville, Pottstown, Reading and St. Christopher’s hospitals
Tower Health has produced its latest set of Community Health Needs Assessments for its hospital service areas in Berks, Chester, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties. Community Health Needs Assessments (CHNAs) 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 for improve the health of communities. All Tower Health facilities and community partners completed the 2022 Community Health Needs Assessment, to identify health priorities for the region and determine a collective way forward.
Tower Health CHNA data was collected regionally and reported for each hospital service area. The project engaged more than 4,000 community members and leaders in the organization’s service area through stakeholder interviews, focus groups on leadership and health equity, and d surveys of key informants and the community. A health provider inventory, which 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 include:
- 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 that does not differ in quality based on patient or patient group characteristics such as age, gender, geographic location, cultural background, ethnicity, religion and socioeconomic status.
“The information provided in the Community Health Needs Assessment is critical to the current and future health and well-being of our communities,” said P. Sue Perrotty, President and CEO of Tower Health. “By continuing to develop and invest in the programs and services that our families, friends and neighbors need, we can help ensure the continued success of the next generation.
Desha Dickson, Vice President of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Community Wellbeing at Tower Health added, “We have already begun working with our community partners at each hospital to finalize plans to meet priorities identified in this year’s needs assessment. Once completed in November, this information will be publicly available. When community organizations contribute their strengths and ideas, we are all stronger – collectively and individually – and can have a more meaningful impact for members of our communities.
Tower Health completed its last CHNA in 2019 and has since run several successful programs in each of the hospital’s communities:
- At Chestnut Hill Hospital, the dedicated team of physicians and resident physicians have volunteered to provide free screenings and educational programs to 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 provided an accessible location for the administration of 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 unique patients have been assessed by the clinical teams at Tower Health Medical Group who have dedicated 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 the barriers they face, refer them to community organizations and provide clinical support. Between September 2018 and April 2022, CCP—using the Responsible Health Communities model under a $4.5 million cooperative agreement between Medicare and Medicaid Service Centers—conducted 142,208 screenings of 53 756 patients and opened 6,378 navigation cases with a community health worker.
This is the first CHNA performed by St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children. The data collected will support the development of new programs and the improvement of current programs to serve some of the most economically disadvantaged neighborhoods in the country and help meet their needs by addressing food insecurity, supporting those affected by violence military, connecting families to legal support, stress relief, etc. The COVID-19 pandemic further helped the hospital realize the resulting even greater gaps in access to care, including a lack of education and awareness of available health services and programs; a greater digital divide and lack of access to technology; increased demand for behavioral health services; and a limited ability to provide quality and appropriate care due to limited language services. St. Christopher’s is committed to providing programs and services that not only provide high-quality care close to home, but also address the social determinants of health.
Tower Health Community Health Needs Assessments are available here: