Minnesota Hospital Association

Data & Reporting

Community Health Needs Assessment

For years, many Minnesota hospitals and health systems conducted formal or informal assessments of their communities’ health needs and completing a Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) is a federal requirement for private, non-profit hospitals. Part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Community Health Needs Assessment is additional criteria for hospitals to maintain their tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) status. This requirement applies for tax years beginning after March 23, 2012.

A hospital must complete a CHNA at least every three years with input from the broader community, including public health experts. Hospitals are then asked to describe how they are addressing needs identified in the community health needs assessment as well as identify any needs not being addressed and explain why not. CHNAs must be made widely available, including through information on form 990s.

MHA reached four key conclusions based on the priority needs that each hospital identified and intends to address in the years ahead:

  • Identifying and prioritizing health needs are very community-centric activities, and each hospital and its community sets their priorities and areas of focus in their own way.
  • Despite Minnesota’s nation-leading health care delivery system, securing access to care remains a significant and high priority for many communities.
  • Promoting wellness and reducing obesity and its corresponding chronic diseases are nearly ubiquitous needs that hospitals and communities across the state hope to impact.
  • Mental health and substance abuse services are commonly identified as some of the most pressing needs of communities of all sizes, locations and demographics. The growing strains on current mental and behavioral health systems are no longer regarded as sustainable, and a majority of CHNAs documented mental health as a high priority and noted forms of substance abuse areas as high priorities.

Community Health Needs Assessment Resources

IRS guidance

How to conduct a community health needs assessment:

Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA)

Association for Community Health Improvement (ACHI)

Minnesota Department of Health community health needs assessment site

National Association of County & City Health Officials

US Department of Health and Human Services


Minnesota Department of Health data to use for community health needs assessments: