Stamford Hospital Needs Assessment, Community Engagement, and Strategic Planning Project

Dates: 2012-2013

State: Connecticut

Client(s): Stamford Hospital

Services: Health Care & Public Health Planning, Applied Research & Evaluation

Technical Expertise: Community Health Coalitions, Health Disparities, Population Health, Healthy Communities

Hospitals need to understand their surrounding communities to ensure that programs and services are responsive to the needs of the communities they serve, and also to help strengthen the existing health and social services system, and to develop important community partnerships that enable the hospitals to leverage community resources. In addition, because hospitals are one of the largest components of the tax exempt sector, the Internal Revenue Service requires that non-profit hospitals provide and report community benefit information.

To better understand community health needs and priorities in its service area and to help the hospital target their community health improvement efforts, and also to ensure compliance with IRS requirements, Stamford Hospital in Stamford, Connecticut, hired JSI to conduct a Community Health Needs Assessment and Community Engagement Project.

JSI conducted a preliminary needs assessment based on information collected from local, state, and national sources. During this initial phase, JSI also conducted over 90 key informant interviews with selected staff and clinicians throughout the hospital as well as with public officials, representatives from advocacy groups, consumers, and other health and community leaders. JSI worked with the hospital and Stamford Department of Public Health to develop a community health needs assessment survey. Survey data was collected from the population overall by mailing it to a randomly selected set of 3,400 households in the hospital's primary and secondary service areas as well as to harder-to-reach populations in the area through a series of targeted health fairs that attracted Hispanic/Latino, Haitian, Eastern Indian, and older adult populations.

Data from the assessment were integrated and presented to the project's Steering Committee through a series of planning retreats. Ultimately the data was used to develop five-year Community Health Strategic Plans for both Stamford Hospital and the City of Stamford, which will be used to guide community health initiatives over the next few years.