Community Health Needs Assessment; It’s More Than a Standard Requirement


Under section 501 (c)(3) of Federal Internal Revenue Code required Not-for- profit hospitals, in order to maintain their tax-exempt, or “charitable” status, provide the benefit of the community they serve.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (2010) enacted section 501(r) states that a hospital organization described in 501 (c)(3) unless the organization meets the requirements of section 501(r)(1). The Affordable Care Act did not otherwise affect the substantive standards for tax exemption that charitable hospital organizations are required to meet under 501 (c)(3).

Section 501(r)(2)(A) defines a hospital organization as an organization that operates a facility required by a state to be licensed, registered, or similarly recognized as a hospital and any other organization that the Secretary determines has the provision of hospital care as its principal function or purpose constituting the basis for its exemption. This requires a hospital organization to conduct a Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) at least once every three years and adopt an implementation strategy to meet the community health needs identified through the CHNA. The CHNA must also be made widely available to the public. Failure to meet these requirements imposes a $50,000 excise tax for each taxable year.

The Commission on Cancer (CoC) Standard requirement 3.1 Patient Navigation Process is to be driven by a triennial Community Needs Assessment, is established to address health care disparities and barriers to cancer care.

Thus the Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) is a multi-purpose tool and resource for healthcare organizations. Stay tuned for further information on the scope and process of the CHNA.