BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. — Since late May, United Hospital Center (UHC), in conjunction with the West Virginia University (WVU) School of Public Health, has been conducting a Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) for Harrison and Doddridge counties.
“Provisions of the Affordable Care Act of 2010 require tax-exempt (non-profit) hospitals to conduct a CHNA to address the needs of their community at least every three years,” John Fernandez, vice president of operations at UHC, said. “The regulations for the CHNA include defining the hospital’s service area and compiling demographics and analysis of health indicators; taking into account input from the community and public health; identifying resources; and prioritizing needs.”
The last time UHC conducted a CHNA was in 2013. It showed a need in the areas of cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, obstructive lung disease, physical inactivity, and access to healthcare services for the uninsured and underinsured.
“Programs were developed and services were provided to address these issues,” said Fernandez.
Some of these included:
- UHC’s Dare-to-Care program, which offers free cardiovascular screenings to all patients at risk for cardiovascular disease;
- Increased cancer screenings and expansion of the clinical navigator program to include all patients with a cancer diagnosis;
- Expanded diabetes screenings and education;
- Continuation of Camp Catch Your Breath, a week-long summer camp staffed by UHC Associates for children ages 8-13 living with asthma and co-sponsored with the American Lung Association;
- Co-sponsorship of “Harrison WE Can” that brings together people struggling with wellness issues related to obesity, sedentary lifestyles, and/or poor nutrition;
- Continuing to work with and support Health Access, the free clinic in Clarksburg serving the uninsured and underinsured populations of Harrison and Doddridge counties.
“The WVU School of Public Health has assisted UHC with facilitating the 2016 CHNA,” Emily Vasile, assistant program director for the School of Public Health's Health Research Center, said. “At the round-table discussions, we had the opportunity to inventory existing programs, services, barriers, and facilitators to public health in the community. These will be summarized and used to address the needs that will be identified in the CHNA.”
The roundtable provided an opportunity to gain additional information not captured by the survey. From the results of the survey, roundtable, and published data, UHC will now be able to better match existing programs and services to the community’s needs as well as develop programming to address any gaps.
“It is my hope that the 2016 CHNA will provide us with the information to make decisions that will allow UHC to even better fulfill our mission of enhancing the health status of the citizens of North Central West Virginia,” Fernandez said.