PITTSBURGH – UPMC’s ongoing commitment to understand and improve the health of its communities is reflected in its recently published 2022 Community Health Needs Assessments (CHNA) and Implementation Plans.
Across all the regions UPMC serves, four significant health needs were identified:
Chronic disease management
Access to care and navigating resources
Prevention and community-wide healthy living
“Information from the CHNAs allows us to prioritize programs and services, because through this process, we can better understand the needs of our communities and develop a roadmap to direct resources where services are most needed and where our impact would be most beneficial. Ultimately, our goal is simply to improve the community’s health,” said Mark Sevco, President, UPMC Hospitals.
UPMC partnered with experts from the University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health to conduct the CHNAs. They combined public health data analysis, examination of socioeconomic factors, and a structured community input survey process that solicited feedback from nearly 3,000 community stakeholders, including individuals and organizations that represent patient constituencies such as medically underserved, low-income, and minority populations.
“It is essential that we all continue to work together to ensure that health improvement efforts and resources are effective and aligned with the most pressing needs,” Sevco said.
Through this rigorous assessment process, UPMC identified significant health needs, prioritized them, established action plans, and identified resources to address those needs. The 2022 reports build on prior assessments and implementation plans developed in 2013, 2016, and 2019.
With hospitals across Pennsylvania, New York, and Western Maryland, UPMC used a regional hub approach to develop the 2022 CHNAs — allowing local communities to set priorities, while supporting a coordinated community health strategy across the UPMC network. UPMC’s CHNA regions are:
Each report establishes specific local priorities unique to its communities, and all UPMC hospitals are focusing efforts within the four identified significant health needs.
For example, behavioral health was rated in the top two most important health topics for every UPMC hospital, with COVID-19 having a significant impact on behavioral health conditions in the community.
“It’s no surprise that we continue to see the need for behavioral health grow across all of the communities that we serve. The pandemic, as well as other undercurrents in our society, have increased stress and anxiety for many people,” said Deborah Brodine, President, UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital and UPMC Senior Services. “In the last cycle of the CHNA, we were able to implement several new addiction treatment programs to address the opioid misuse crisis. We will keep pursuing new, integrated care models in both behavioral health and substance use disorder in this current cycle, and these programs will continue to leverage technology and the ability to partner with physical health providers to reduce stigma. We will also strive to increase and improve access to care across our communities.”
Other key findings from this cycle of the CHNA among all UPMC regions:
Access to care was perceived as the issue UPMC can most likely address and drive significant impact.
Disparities in community health due to socioeconomic status and other non-medical factors were widely recognized by respondents.
“UPMC facilities are located in diverse geographic regions, and the ongoing and detailed CHNA process is a valuable opportunity for us to actively engage with community leaders, experts, and advocates who have a deep knowledge of health disparities affecting their communities,” said Tracey Conti, M.D., Chair, Department of Family Medicine, UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, who is engaged in CHNA efforts. “Collaborating with our neighbors ensures that all our patients have equitable access to the health care they need.”
To remain compliant with IRS 501(r) guidelines, all licensed non-profit hospitals in the country are required to conduct and publish a satisfactory CHNA as part of a three-year cyclical process. As part of this commitment, the board of directors at each UPMC hospital adopted plans to address identified needs and track associated improvements. The new reports document progress made since the previous CHNAs three years ago and delineate hospital-specific implementation plans that will address needs identified for the 2022-2025 cycle.
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