by Amie Sites
Logansport Memorial Hospital took steps this week to identify and prioritize what patients need via a community health needs assessment the hospital must complete next year to avoid a hefty annual tax.
The hospital recently signed a contract with Professional Research Consultants Inc., located in Omaha, Neb., to assist with a telephone survey portion of the health needs assessment.
The firm has been conducting community health needs assessments since 1994.
Vicki Byrd, vice president of planning and development at the hospital, said the firm would call Cass County residents at random, on landlines and cell phones, until it had gathered 400 completed surveys.
“Our goal is to help improve and to effectively provide community programs,” Byrd said. “We also want to be in compliance with the IRS and meet community needs.”
If a state hospital organization does not complete the community health needs assessment, the Internal Revenue Service will levy a $50,000 excise tax for any taxable year, according to the IRS website.
Every hospital is required to conduct an assessment periodically.
The Logansport hospital’s assessment must meet five requirements.
An assessment should include descriptions of the community served by the hospital, the process and methods used to conduct the assessment, how the hospital took into account input from persons who represent interests of the community served, community needs by priority and the existing health care facilities and other resources within the community.
The hospital’s last survey was completed in 2008, Byrd said.
The complete assessment — including phone calls, a focus group to analyze secondary data, report preparation and posting on the website — will cost $29,500.
Byrd said the money would come out of hospital operating expenses.
The survey must be completed, its results publicized and related programs implemented by Dec. 31, 2013.
After Professional Research Consultants makes phone calls, a task force will meet in February to look at secondary data, Byrd said.
Both new data collected from the phone survey and secondary data, information already available, will be used in the assessment.
Administrators want to have data collected by March and analyzed by June, Byrd said. They want to spend July through December next year finishing and distributing the assessment.
Dave Ameen, the hospital’s president and chief executive officer, said he wanted to make sure the hospital completed the survey the right way.
“I think we should get new information about our community,” Ameen said. “It will also be helpful with grants because they’ll have the exact data from our community needed for particular grants.”
Amie Sites is a reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5150 or firstname.lastname@example.org.