Saint Francis Completes 2022 Community Health Needs Assessment

Saint Francis Healthcare System recently completed the 2022 Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) and the results are now available for review.

A CHNA must be conducted every three years by not-for-profit hospitals to comply with federal tax-exemption requirements under the Affordable Care Act. Following the CHNA, the healthcare system must adopt an implementation strategy to meet the community health needs identified through the assessment. The ultimate purpose of the CHNA is to improve community health.

Primary and secondary research were conducted over several months. Primary research included six focus groups in the four counties targeted in the assessment – Cape Girardeau, Butler, Scott and Stoddard counties. Those counties were selected to assess because they represent the highest volume of patients served by Saint Francis Healthcare System. Additional primary data were collected via an extensive consumer survey that gathered more than 500 responses from residents of the four counties. Primary data is important to collect because it provides the thoughts and opinions of what local residents perceive as their most critical health needs.

Secondary research included reviewing and extracting information from published data on the region from various federal, state and local sources. Secondary data is important because it reflects factual information on health needs. Secondary data’s main limitation is that publication lags and often, immediate needs are not reflected. In the case of the 2022 assessment, data that reflected the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on health needs were often not yet published.

When all data were collected, the CHNA team used a customized multi-factor prioritization process to determine the most crucial needs of the region. Needs fell into these categories:health, behavioral and community needs. Results were population-weighted. The top five priority needs for the Saint Francis CHNA were:

  1. Obesity, Nutrition and Activity Levels
  2. Mental and Behavioral Disorders
  3. Heart Disease
  4. Cancer
  5. Preventative and Screening Services

The CHNA includes an executive summary and an implementation plan for how the Healthcare System will address priority needs. There are also individual reports for the four target counties that have each respective county’s most critical health needs.