WEST READING, PA — Four years ago, Tower Health completed its first Community Health Needs Assessments (CHNA). These assessments have been required of tax-exempt hospitals since the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was enacted in 2010. In preparation for its second round of CHNAs, all Tower Health facilities and its community partners came together to identify the region’s health priorities and determine a collective path forward. The findings from this process were released earlier this week in a report entitled “Tower Health 2022 Community Health Needs Assessments.”
Tower Health’s Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) was conducted with the intention of understanding the health and social needs of the regions it services. To do this, data was collected regionally and then reported for each hospital service area.
In total, more than 4,000 community members and leaders were engaged through stakeholder interviews, leadership and health equity focus groups, key informant surveys, and general community surveys. In addition, a comprehensive inventory of health providers serving the community was created.
Based on all of this work, three priority areas were identified for the next three years: access to equitable care, behavioral health, and health education and prevention. These areas were chosen based on a number of factors, including community input, gap analysis, and data analysis.
In recent years, there has been a growing focus on health equity in the medical community. This shift has led to a new emphasis on providing “equitable care” rather than simply “access to care.” Equitable care means that every patient receives care that is of the same high quality, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status.
This shift in focus is essential in order to ensure that all patients have an equal opportunity to receive the best possible care. By delivering equitable care, Tower Health says that it can help to close the gap between the haves and the have-nots in society and ensure that everyone has the opportunity to live a healthy life.
As the president and CEO of Tower Health, P. Sue Perrotty understands the importance of the Community Health Needs Assessment. This document provides vital information about the current and future health of local communities. By continuing to invest in programs and services that meet the needs of their residents, Tower Health can help ensure a bright future for all. As Perrotty points out, this is an investment in “our families, friends, and neighbors” and is an investment that will pay dividends for generations to come.
Desha Dickson, Tower Health Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and Community Wellness added, “We have already begun work with our community partners at each hospital to finalize plans addressing the priorities identified in this year’s needs assessment. When complete in the November this information will be available publicly. When community organizations bring their strengths and ideas to the table, we are all stronger –collectively and individually – and can make a more significant impact for the members of our communities.”
Tower Health states that it is committed to meeting the needs of its diverse communities. This year’s needs assessment process included input from a variety of stakeholders, including community leaders, healthcare providers, and patients. The results of the needs assessment will help guide Tower Health’s efforts to improve access to quality healthcare for all. Desha Dickson added, “We are proud to be partnering with our community partners to address the health disparities that exist in our communities.”
In 2019, Tower Health completed its Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA), which identified several areas of need:
- Chestnut Hill Hospital had a team of doctors and medical residents who volunteered to offer free screenings and educational programs to children at summer camps, seniors at local centers, and high-risk individuals who need support and care.
- Phoenixville Hospital worked together with the community to provide resources and expertise to meet the health needs of everyone in the community. They did this by opening a mobile vaccine clinic for seniors, at-risk populations, schools, and other groups. This allowed more people to have access to care and helped foster health equity. Phoenixville Hospital partnered with Chester County Health Department to provide COVID-19 vaccines at a local community vaccination clinic.
- The Pottstown Hospital Street Medicine Program provides primary and urgent care to people who are homeless in the Pottstown area. So far, more than 150 people have been seen and more than 280 hours of volunteer work has been put in by the Tower Health Medical Group teams.
- The Community Connection Program (CCP) at Reading Hospital screens patients for potential needs, such as access to food, quality housing, and reliable transportation. If a patient is found to need help with any of these things, the CCP assigns them a Community Health Worker. The worker helps the patient find community-based organizations that can help them and provides clinical support. Between September 2018 and April 2022, the CCP completed 142,208 screenings of 53,756 patients and opened 6,378 navigation cases with a Community Health Worker.
St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children (STC) shared the results of its first Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA). The CHNA process included extensive engagement with its patients, families, and staff as well as community partners. The data collected will support the development of new programs and the enhancement of current programs to serve some of the most economically under-resourced neighborhoods in the country and help meet their needs by combatting food insecurity, supporting those affected by gun violence, connecting families to legal support, mitigating stress, and more.
Moreover, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children states that it is redoubling its efforts to respond to the ever-changing needs of the community. The pandemic has shone a light on many of the disparities that exist in healthcare, both in terms of access to care and the quality of care that is available. Through its dedication to offering programs and services that address social determinants of health, St. Christopher’s states that it is committed to improving the lives of all members of the community, regardless of their background or circumstances. By working to close the gaps that exist in healthcare, St. Christopher’s says it is ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to live a healthy and prosperous life.
The Tower Health Community Health Needs Assessments (CHNAs) are now available for public review at:
- Chestnut Hill Hospital
- Phoenixville Hospital
- Pottstown Hospital
- Reading Hospital
- St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children
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