Background: More than half of all local health departments (LHDs) in the U.S. are involved in collaborations with nonprofit hospitals on a community health needs assessment (CHNA), yet little is known about the role that LHDs play in hospitals’ implementation plans.
Purpose: This study aims to explore the current state of hospital–LHD collaborations around the implementation plan using data from a survey of LHDs across the country.
Methods: The study sample included 457 LHDs that completed both the 2015 Forces of Change survey and the 2013 Profile survey conducted by the National Association of County and City Health Officials. Univariate and bivariate analyses were used to compare LHDs involved in hospitals’ implementation plans to LHDs not involved in such activities. All analyses were conducted in 2016.
Results: Of the 457 sample LHDs, 62% were involved in at least one activity associated with hospitals’ implementation plans. These LHDs were larger, had greater budgets, and were more likely to be locally governed. In addition, almost all of these LHDs reported that they also collaborated with hospitals around the CHNA.
Implications: There is evidence of substantial involvement of LHDs in hospitals’ implementation plans. Importantly, joint CHNAs appear to pave the path for hospital–LHD collaboration in this area. Since LHDs that collaborate with hospitals on their implementation plans tended to be better resourced, policymakers may want to find ways to ensure that smaller LHDs have the necessary human and fiscal resources to be engaged in joint community health needs assessment and improvement planning activities.
Singh S, Carlton E. Local health departments’ involvement in hospitals’ implementation plans. Front Public Health Serv Sys Res 2016; 5(4):34–9. DOI: 10.13023/FPHSSR.0504.06.