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The Wisconsin Hospital Association maintains a web site called ServePoint (http://www.wiservepoint.org/Default.aspx_
) the reports hospital community benefit. ONe of the pages (http://www.wiservepoint.org/ViewStories.aspx) allows you to view hospital reporting of activities in the arena of "social and economic factors that affect health. You can also view other activities in a broad range of areas, in a pull down menu.
The annual report that WHA produces is at http://www.wiservepoint.org/Documents/2009CBreport.pdf.
One of the sticky issues with this report is that is includes what it terms "Medicaid shortfalls" ($755M in 2009)and other debatable items in the total sum of community benefits.
But an interesting report, nonetheless.

I agree completely that hospital assessments of community health needs should be done collaboratively with local public health agencies and others in the community. I would go further to suggest that individual hospitals should be required to select priorities which are included within a comprehensive community public health assessment and plan, if one is available. We do not need multiple assessments, but rather collaborative and aligned action on key community priorities developed in a credible public health planning process. In Wisconsin the Hospital Association has encouraged members to rely on the priorities of the State Public Health Plan as a framework, for example. State laws call for public health agencies to lead community health assessments and planning periodically. These processes and plans can become increasingly meaningful if they are a framework for aligned action by multiple actors.

I agree wholeheartedly with the suggestion that hospital community assessments should be done in collaboration with local agencies and community members. I would also argue that a community-based participatory approach should be required by hospitals in order to accurately identify community problems as well as assets/strengths; these may or may not be related to health care, as pointed out. (See 2008 book edited by Meredith Minkler & Nina Wallerstein: Community-Based Participatory Research for Health: From Process to Outcomes). In one of the chapters of this book, Meredith Minkler & Trevor Hancock state that “We get the kinds of answers we are comfortable dealing with because we ask the kinds of questions that will give us those answers” (p.154). It can be scary—but also potentially liberating—for researchers, health care providers, and hospital administrators to think about the kinds of answers we might get if we truly allow communities to shape and determine what “community benefit” might mean for their lives, their neighborhoods, their families, their schools, their places of work. We know that these are the things that matter for maintaining health, managing chronic disease, fostering aspirations, and enriching quality of life.

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