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Effects of Medicaid Expansion on Perceived Community Health Needs: Comparing and Contrasting the Content of CAH CHNAs Nationwide

Anne Zahradnik
JHHSA, Vol. 46 No. 2, 133-147 (2023)

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010 included a requirement that every nonprofit hospital complete a Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) every three years. At the same time, the ACA offered significant financial incentives for states to broaden access to their Medicaid programs. Not all states took advantage of the Medicaid expansion incentives. Critical access hospitals (CAH) are deemed “critical” because they are the sole hospital in a geographic area. Such facilities are deeply enmeshed with the social determinants of health and other health-related challenges experienced by their communities. Their CHNA reports provide insight into the healthcare challenges community members cope with. The question explored in this study is: Do critical access hospital community health needs assessments in Medicaid expansion states report different community health care needs than those in non-expansion states? Both descriptive and analytic statistics indicate there are some differences between states, but there are also universal concerns in rural communities served by CAHs nationwide, regardless of Medicaid expansion status.

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