For Halloween: The Most Feared Question on Schedule H Form 990 Part V Community Health Needs Assessment, Question # 7

For Halloween: The Most Feared Question on Schedule H Form 990 Part V Community Health Needs Assessment, Question # 7

“Did the hospital facility address all of the needs identified in its most recently conducted Needs Assessment? If “No” explain in Part VI which needs it has not addressed and the reasons why it has not addressed such needs.” 

We have worked with many hospitals on their Community Health Needs Assessment, and the most feared section of the Form 990 is question #7 in Section V (above).  Hospital executive staffs are frequently classic overachievers.  They want to provide 100% customer satisfaction, 100% clinical quality, the best financial results, have the most satisfied employees, and meet 100% of community health needs.  However, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is allowing hospitals to say, “we can’t address every need identified.”

The truth is hospitals can’t address every need identified.  Hospitals are struggling with less reimbursement, less personnel and frankly not enough resources to deal with all the myriad health needs in the community.  There are other organizations in your community equipped to deal with many of the identified health issues.

Examples include behavioral health organizations in the community more qualified to deal with behavioral health issues identified; and law enforcement and schools are in a better position to decrease underage tobacco use.   Hospitals are in a great position to deal with chronic disease issues such as Diabetes, Heart Disease or Cancer or smoking cessation classes, or working with the health department on immunizations.

Honest Dialogue – Issues Hospitals Can Most Effectively Address

Hospital leadership teams need to sit down and have an honest dialogue about what issues they can most effectively address and what issues are better left to another community organization.  Just because an issue is better addressed by another organization doesn’t mean the hospital is left out. They can still help. The hospital is the catalyst for the entire community health needs assessment process.  The hospital can receive reports on progress on all issues and assist at any time.  The hospital can get the community together annually to discuss progress.

Feel free to be brutally honest on question 7 and list the initiatives for which the hospital will take responsibility and the ones the hospital will encourage another community group to take responsibility.  As long as the top priority needs are being addressed by someone, isn’t that what matters?  The IRS says it’s OK.  Don’t be scared.

Let us know how we can help.

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