40% of hospitals not publishing community health needs assessments, putting tax-exempt status at risk

Forty percent of nonprofit hospitals are failing to complete and publicly report documentation required for a community health needs assessment, according to a study published Aug. 24 in JAMA Network Open.

As mandated by the ACA, nonprofit hospitals are required to complete community health needs assessments every three years to ensure they are producing community benefits with the costs saved from tax exemptions.

In particular, nonprofit hospitals are required to do three things: conduct the assessment and adopt an implementation strategy, abide by documentation requirements and make those documents publicly available. Not doing these three things could jeopardize a nonprofit hospital's ability to receive tax exemptions.

Researchers found that only 60 percent of hospitals had both a community health needs assessment and an implementation strategy publicly available, and many documents were missing.

For the study, researchers analyzed a random sample of 500 U.S. hospitals to determine adherence to these requirements. The researchers assessed the hospitals' IRS form 990 Schedule H from a ProPublica database.

Researchers noted that the 60 percent statistic applies to whether hospitals completed all three requirements.

Read more here.

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