December 1, 2022
Collaborative Opportunities to Advance Community Health (COACH) brings together hospital/health system, public health, and community partners to address community health needs in southeastern Pennsylvania. Facilitated by Health Care Improvement Foundation (HCIF) since launching in 2015, COACH has provided a structure for participants to explore collaborative implementation strategies as hospitals/health systems respond to community health needs assessments (CHNAs) through implementation plans mandated by the Affordable Care Act. COACH is sponsored by the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania and funded through participating hospitals and health systems.
COACH recognizes that many challenging health problems arise from social issues that cannot be effectively addressed by one stakeholder alone. Through a collective impact approach, COACH gives participants an opportunity to make real progress together in addressing the underlying social needs that give rise to poor health. More specifically, COACH focuses on food security initiatives and trauma informed, healing-centered care and practice (TIHCP). COACH participants have identified that improving access to healthy foods as an effective way to help at-risk patients and families prevent or better manage chronic disease. In a health care system, trauma can affect everyone, from patients and their families to providers and staff. COACH participants are focused on addressing trauma to create a culture of healing, starting within hospital walls and spreading throughout communities. Currently, COACH includes 8 health system teams representing 18 local hospitals, and 18 public health, community-based, and insurer partners.
COACH’s programming is rooted in shared implementation strategies to address needs identified in the Southeastern Pennsylvania Regional Community Health Needs Assessment (rCHNA). The rCHNA fulfills federal requirements through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) for non-profit hospitals to complete a Community Health Needs Assessment. Coordinated by HCIF, the rCHNA engages stakeholders and community residents to gain their frame of mind on community assets, needs, and proposed solutions and assesses population health and social needs indicators for geographic communities. The assessment resulted in a list of priority health needs, such as mental health conditions, access to primary and specialty care, racism and discrimination in health care, and community violence. These needs will inform participating hospitals’ and health systems’ development of implementation plans guiding community benefit and community building activities. The most recent rCHNA was published in June of 2022 and can be viewed on HCIF’s website.
On November 16, the Health Care Improvement Foundation (HCIF) hosted the final COACH Full Collaborative meeting of the calendar year. This event brought together hospital & health system partners, community-based partners, health agencies, advisory group members and community consultants to discuss collaborative priorities, including social needs identification and trauma-informed, healing-centered care and practice (TIHCP). Featured sessions included a grounding activity, planning upcoming 2023 programming and activities, and health systems’ report-outs on their TIHCP Action Plans. Health systems also reflected on their system-specific Implementation Plans, which were published to health system websites on November 15, 2022. Overall, COACH partners expressed being most excited and proud of the forums and spaces they created for institutional and community engagement in the implementation planning process, efforts to become more patient-centered and community involved, the ability to leverage youth voice in planning, and addressing racial equity and the needs identified through the rCHNA within their institutions.