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What are the top health needs in MultiCare’s communities?

Posted on Feb. 11, 2020 ( comments)

What do people in your community see as their greatest health concern?

As MultiCare Health System continues to improve health outcomes and keep its patients healthy, Community Health Needs Assessments (CHNAs) serve as a key tool that helps leaders, staff, patients and partners better identify key health issues in the communities MultiCare serves.

The CHNA helps paint a picture of what the health of these communities looks like and helps hospitals make decisions around the best ways to help the community become (and remain) healthy.

In 2010, former President Barack Obama passed the Affordable Care Act (ACA, also known as Obamacare). As part of the ACA, tax-exempt hospitals and health care systems must complete a CHNA for their service areas once every three years or risk losing their not-for-profit status.

Because MultiCare believes improving population health outcomes leads to healthier communities, MultiCare enthusiastically took on the task starting in 2013. MultiCare recently completed its 2019 Community Health Needs Assessments for all eight hospital service areas.

Conducting a CHNA is not an easy task. But strong partnerships, collaboration, community input and leadership make the process easier. To complete the CHNA, MultiCare partnered with health departments, health care systems and several community organizations to compile health-related data, facilitate community focus groups and determine priority health needs, which are the top emerging health issues in the communities MultiCare serves.

Hospital leaders then selected priority needs to focus on. For example, MultiCare’s CHNA reports show that 36.9 percent of youth in Pierce County experience depression and 5 percent of adults in Pierce County have a serious mental illness compared to 3.8 percent in Washington state.

Because of data like this, behavioral health was selected as a priority health need by hospital leaders. Other priority health needs identified include:

Pierce County
-Behavioral health
-Access to health care
-Maternal and child health
-Childhood immunizations

King County
-Behavioral health
-Physical health
-Access to health care
-Childhood immunization

Inland Northwest
-Behavioral health access
-Intentional injuries (suicide and violence)
-Oral health care (poverty)

See a breakdown of priority health needs by hospital service area

Each hospital then created an implementation strategy, or a plan of action for addressing the priority health needs. Leaders, staff and community partners will work together over the next three years to improve outcomes in these areas.

To view the 2019 CHNAs and implementation strategies for all MultiCare hospitals, visit

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