Lahey Health/Lahey Clinic Medical Center Needs Assessment, Community Engagement, and Strategic Planning Project

Dates: 2013-2014

State: Massachusetts

Client(s): Lahey Clinic Medical Center

Service: Health Care & Public Health Planning

Technical Expertise: Substance Use, Behavioral Health, Chronic Disease Management, Health Disparities, Population Health, Primary Care, Healthy Communities


The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires charitable hospitals to conduct a community health needs assessment (CHNA) at least once every three years. The CHNA must evaluate the health-related needs in a hospital’s primary service area, and solicit input from community stakeholders, including health and social service providers, local health department officials, community leaders, and the public at-large. The ACA also requires that charitable hospitals develop a community health improvement plan (CHIP) that identifies the leading health issues and details how the hospital will work in collaboration with the service area’s key community health stakeholders to address the health issues identified by the CHNA and improve overall health status.

In the spring of 2012, JSI was hired by Lahey Health, a large multi-hospital, integrated delivery system to the west and north east of Boston to conduct a CHNA and facilitate the development of a CHIP on behalf of its Lahey Clinic Medical Center hospital sites in Burlington and Peabody, Massachusetts. JSI’s work built on work that it had conducted for Lahey Health on behalf of its hospitals in Beverly and Gloucester, Massachusetts in 2011.

For this project, JSI implemented a three-phased approach:

Phase I. Capturing quantitative data and information on community need
JSI reviewed a broad range of existing epidemiologic data compiled from federal, state, and local sources, and began to engage the community through a series of key informant interviews with health and social service providers, health department officials, community advocates, and other community leaders.

Phase II. Engaging a broad array of community stakeholders including the community at-large
JSI captured more in-depth and targeted information through a series of focus groups with a representative group of medical, behavioral, and social service providers as well as public health officials. JSI also organized a series of community forums with the community at-large.

Phase III. Identifying community health priorities and a series of strategic goals/objectives
JSI worked with the hospitals’ leadership to identify the leading health priorities from the data collected in Phases I and II and to develop its CHIP based on feedback from the community forums and focus groups.

Finally, JSI worked with the hospital to develop its CHNA report and to disseminate the information to the community.