ALBANY — The Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital Board of Directors approved on Wednesday a community needs health assessment for 2020-22.

In exchange for a benefit of the broad public interest, a nonprofit hospital completes a community needs assessment for tax-exempt donations, federal tax exemptions, state and local tax exemptions and tax-free bonds.

For the hospital, the priorities of birth outcomes and reproductive responsibility, diabetes management and prevention, behavioral health and addictive disease advocacy, and cancer prevention and treatment were the needs accepted.

Lori Jenkins, director of strategy and planning at Phoebe, said the birth outcomes and diabetes priorities were carried over from the previous assessment, and coalitions are in place to address them. For cancer, she said the biggest concern is cervical cancer.

Jenkins said a significant part of the problem with cervical cancer is compliance with recommendations for the human papillomavirus vaccine.

“We are off the range (for cervical cancer) compared to other U.S. counties, and it is getting higher,” she said.

The health needs assessment is a community-involved process to identify and analyze health needs and assets to prioritize, plan and act. After the assessment is completed, an implementation strategy, the organization’s plan for addressing the prioritized needs and problems in the assessment, is created.

The process for the 2020-22 assessment, which has involved identifying and collecting data, interpreting that data and defining and validating priorities, began last year. The latest assessment includes the building of the SocioNeeds Index by HCI-Conduent, which highlights the zip codes with socioeconomic need that is in turn correlated with preventable hospitalizations and premature death, as well as input from public health officials and Horizons Community Solutions.

Among the 500 largest cities tracked as part of the 500 Cities Project for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Robert Wood Foundation and the CDC Foundation, Albany ranked 486.

Committees from Phoebe, as well as its sister hospitals in Sylvester and Americus, are presenting their assessments to their respective hospital boards for approval. An implementation is now expected to be formulated for the Albany hospital, which its board will consider in November.

Staff Writer

I'm a 2007 graduate of Georgia Southern University, and I've been a reporter for The Albany Herald since 2008. I cover news related to health care, Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany, SOWEGA Council on Aging and other areas as assigned.

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