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Dr. Kindig;
Actually, there may be locally customized health status in the works. The IRS is going to require all not-for-profit hospitals to complete a Community Health Needs Assessment every three years in order to maintain their tax exempt status. Those assessments must quantify both met and unmet health care needs in the hospital's service delivery area, set forth a plan to meet unmet needs and make that Assessment and plan public. The instrument is IRS Schedule 990-H.
Ron Cossman
Social Science Research Center, Mississippi State University

Dear Dr. Cossman,
Thanks for raising this important point -- we are also paying close attention to how nonprofit hospital community benefits are evolving. You may be interested in a couple of previous posts on this topic: "IRS Invites Comments Regarding Community Health Needs Assessments" http://www.improvingpopulationhealth.org/blog/2011/07/irs-invites-comments-regarding-community-health-needs-assessments.html and Hospital Community Benefit: An Update on Opportunities and Challenges http://www.improvingpopulationhealth.org/blog/2011/06/community_benefit_update.html
Kirstin Siemering
IPH Associate Editor

In 5 semi-rural communities in SE Michigan we're using BRFSS, County Health Rankings, PAC & NEAT survey results to develop customized, comprehensive wellness plans for each town. Comprehensive means the towns' Wellness Coalitions will develop a plan aimed at creating a culture in which residents 'eat better, move more, avoid unhealthy substances & connect with others in a healthy way'. Altarum & researchers from the University of MI are working with us to evaluate the process & outcomes - we're hoping any successes will be supported by data & be replicable. You can learn a bit about what we're doing on our website (geared toward community members). www.5healthytowns.org

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