Columbia St. Mary's Hospital Milwaukee

Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) Overview

The Community Health Needs Assessment for Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital Milwaukee represents analysis for the primary service area of the hospital, which is defined as the Milwaukee County area. The demographics for the area are described in the CHNA Milwaukee Secondary Data Report.

This geographic area is served by five hospital systems: Columbia St. Mary’s (CSM), Wheaton Health Care, Froedtert and Medical College, Aurora Health Care and Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. Four Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC’s) also serve the Milwaukee County area. These hospital systems and FQHC’s have developed the Milwaukee Health Care Partnership (MHCP) to collaborate in efforts to improve understanding of health care needs in Milwaukee and to improve access to health care. 

Community Health Needs Assessment Process

Representatives from the Milwaukee Health Care Partnership (MHCP) have collaborated to develop a process for the Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) of Milwaukee. The collaboration included participation by the City of Milwaukee Health Department and representatives from health departments in Milwaukee County. The CHNA team developed a multi-level assessment process. The first level consisted of a survey of county residents regarding their health status, health access and perception of community needs. Working together, survey questions were developed and approved. A consultant was contracted to perform the survey using techniques that the consultant had used in similar surveys over ten years. The survey process has been reviewed for scientific reliability. The survey was conducted over the telephone to cell phone owners and “land-line” telephone owners. More than 1,900 people were interviewed. The consultant produced a CHNA Milwaukee County Community Health Survey and a Survey Summary Report for 2015.

The second level of data gathering was performed by the Center for Urban Population Health (CUPH) as secondary data gathering about community needs based on public health and other publicly available information. Data was gathered and summarized in the CHNA Milwaukee County Secondary Data Report for 2015.  

The third level of data was gathered through a key stakeholder interview process. MHCP members had agreed upon those diverse people who represented key aspects of the community. A survey tool was developed by the group and interviews were scheduled by MHCP members and by public health students working with the City of Milwaukee Health Department. In all, 35 individual interviews and five group interviews were conducted by team members. A listing of those interviewed is included in the Key Stakeholder summary. CUPH was contracted to gather and summarize the key stakeholder interviews. CUPH produced the CHNA Milwaukee County Stakeholder Report for 2015.

The CHNA Executive Summary was compiled through review of the source documents and provided to all members of the Milwaukee Health Care Partnership to develop a shared understanding of Milwaukee Needs.

The CSM Community Health Improvement Committee met to review the MHCP Executive Summary and Source Documents and to consider needs as known by committee members. The committee added several needs not reflected in the source documents and approved the CHNA to serve as a source for the Community Health Improvement Plan and ultimate approval by the Board of Directors. 

Community Health Improvement Plan Process

The Community Health Improvement Committee reviewed the CHNA to determine those needs most appropriate to be addressed by CSM Milwaukee by considering attributes of the Community Service Philosophy and history of programs serving the community. Community Services Department staff prepared a set of plans and metrics to assist in tracking progress of community health improvement work. The Community Health Improvement Committee made edits to the draft and approved a Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) for submission to the CSM Board. A combined report was developed to show the connection between the community needs and community health improvement plan and metrics. The Community Health Improvement Strategy, containing the CHNA and CHIP, was approved by the CSM Board.


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