Health impact assessments (HIAs) are increasingly used to help legislators, public agencies, and other decision-makers advance policies that help build safe and thriving communities. An HIA is a systematic process that, according to the National Research Council, uses an array of data sources and analytic methods and considers input from stakeholders to determine the potential effects of a proposed policy, plan, program, or project on the health of a population and the distribution of those effects within the population. HIAs provide specific and practical recommendations to minimize risks and maximize the health of communities. More information on the formal HIA process can be found on the Pew Trust website.
The Colorado School of Public Health, in collaboration with Children’s Hospital Colorado, developed a model and pilot procedures to institutionalize the use of HIAs as a part of hospital community benefit activities that are required for hospitals to acquire and maintain their nonprofit status. With the Affordable Care Act, nonprofit hospitals have been required to conduct community health needs assessments and develop implementation plans to improve health in the communities they serve.