Community Health Needs Assessments

The Community Health Services Development (CHSD) project is a community health needs assessment process that helps Montana Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) engage members of their rural community, identify and measure the community’s health needs, recognize potential gaps in healthcare services, and develop specific strategies to prioritize and address the health needs that were identified during the CHSD process.

CHSD involves a steering committee to actively engage community members, a random sample mailed survey, local focus groups and key informant interviews, and an implementation planning process with the hospital’s leadership team. In recent years, the CHSD process has been modified to comply with the IRS 990 Schedule H requirements for CAHs to provide community benefit to their service area. To date, over 40 communities in Montana have used the CHSD process to conduct a community health needs assessment to inform their hospitals’ community benefit plan and improve the overall health of their community.


  • Engage community members in the health of their rural communities.
  • Gather real-time information about rural health in Montana.
  • Identify specific priorities of health needs and access to services for rural communities in Montana.
  • Help Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) fulfill IRS 990 Schedule H reporting requirements to develop a community benefit plan and maintain nonprofit, tax-exempt status.


Statewide Outcomes

  • Montana Office of Rural Health (MORH) has compiled all needs assessment data findings to create an aggregate data set to determine similarities, differences, and to identify healthcare trends across the State of Montana.
  • Interactive Montana Hospital Map – Please click on the pegs to view the community’s top health concerns, the facility’s implementation goals, and a link to each facility’s full Community Health Needs Assessment.