by Brendan Sample

With 2019 nearly wrapped up, Chestnut Hill Hospital presented its Community Health Needs Assessment for the year at the latest Chestnut Hill Community Association board meeting.

Board member Cathy Brzozowski, who is also the marketing director for the hospital, demonstrated key data from the hospital’s studies, what this said about its community and how it will look to implement certain beneficial strategies based on that data.

Gathering information from northwest Philadelphia and Montgomery County, one of the key discoveries the hospital made is that approximately 39.2% of residents in its service area had had difficulty accessing health care at some point in the past year. Reasons for this included a lack of insurance, transportation, high costs and inconvenient hours.

The hospital was thus able to identify four key health priorities going forward: access to health care, identifying and addressing social determinants of health, disease prevention and management and access to behavioral health services. It will look to increase health care access by increasing cultural awareness, diversity and inclusion, further streamlining access to care facilities and continue providing convenient access to information via the MyTowerHealth online portal. It will also be seeking to implement a transportation program next year to assist those who may be unable to get to the hospital for non-emergency services.

“The real root of this is that it’s good for us and it’s good for the community,” Brzozowski said of the assessment. “It really serves as a guide for us to implement strategy, sponsor organizations and do events that really address these needs. So it’s a sort of a guiding tool for us for the next three years.”

In anticipation of December, the board discussed final preparations for its main fundraisers next month – the Holiday House Tour and Holiday Parade. Though ticket sales are down compared to this point last year, Andy Kite remained optimistic regarding one of the CHCA’s biggest fundraisers of the year, citing 85% board participation as just one positive element before the Dec. 7 date. The Holiday Parade is also on track to be held on Dec. 14, with executive director Anne McNiff confirming that the Philadelphia Eagles’ Pep Band will be part of the festivities.

The CHCA’s biggest fundraiser of the year, the Annual Appeal, was also a notable topic of discussion, as the campaign had officially kicked off earlier that week. Letters were sent out to people on the appeal’s mailing list, which included a copy of the first “Community Matters” column that ran in the Chestnut Hill Local at the end of October. The campaign will run through March to allow interested donors a chance to include donations on their taxes, and will include further social media blasts and articles in the Local.

The next CHCA Board of Directors meeting is set for Thursday, Jan. 23, with no meeting scheduled for December. Brendan Sample can be reached at brendan@chestnuthilllocal.com or 215-248-8819.

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