In 2011, the three Sussex County hospitals initiated a unique collaboration to begin to address common healthcare needs and disparities for Sussex county residents. This collaborative group is known today as the Healthier Sussex County (HSC) Task Force. As a critical connection to many health and social service agencies, the Sussex County Health Coalition very quickly became a key partner in this organization, having already collaborated with each of the three hospitals to support, promote and pilot a number of health initiatives to improve the health of our community as well as develop programs that address previously identified gaps in care or areas of need.
With the start of HSC, the three not-for-profit healthcare systems, (Nanticoke Health Services, Beebe Healthcare and Bayhealth), began to work together to collect data needed for the IRS-mandated Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA); required of all non-profit hospitals every three years.
This needs assessment process involves surveying individual community members at large as well as key stakeholders. Key stakeholders are defined as those who work within organizations and agencies whose role is to provide critical support for populations in need related to healthcare, social services or other areas impacting a person’s ability to lead a healthy lifestyle. It is critical to meaningfully connect with these stakeholders during the assessment process.
They have numerous interactions with fellow residents. They provide a unique insight; a broad perspective on access issues, disparities and needs in a more in-depth and personal way, providing
understanding of the healthcare challenges our community encounters.
HSC along with the Sussex County Health Coalition have together begun the 2019 Community Health Needs Assessment data collection process. As a part of reaching more stakeholders and gathering more meaningful input, Sussex County Health Coalition is generously providing a unique opportunity. Three of their upcoming meetings are slated as CHNA Stakeholder survey roundtable discussions. Through the contributions of each meeting’s attendees, the goal is to garner detailed information related to the health needs of our fellow community members as well as proposed recommendations and solutions to the challenges and barriers preventing access to proper and preventative health care in Sussex County. The three hospitals and the Sussex County Health Coalition will be working together to facilitate and record all feedback provided during these meetings.
Information from stakeholder input along with the community surveys being collected by each organization will be shared amongst the group and analyzed. While each hospital uses results relevant to its area of service to determine community member needs, collectively along with the Sussex County Health Coalition, common crucial areas of need will be identified for collaborative projects. Healthier Sussex County, the Sussex County Health Coalition, and partner organizations can work together to develop an implementation plan to continue to work on gaps in care or to better support ongoing initiatives addressing these areas of need with the desired outcome being programs and initiatives that have the greatest potential for success and beneficial impact.
Each hospital’s Community Health Needs Assessment and Implementation plan is published on individual hospital websites. Additionally, the combined plan for Healthier Sussex County and the Sussex County Health Coalition will be shared on the SCHC website in June of 2019.