Sacred Heart Hospital - Community Health Needs Assessment and Action Plan

In 2012, non-profit hospitals from across the Lehigh Valley created the Health Care Council of the Lehigh Valley (HCCLV) for the purpose of measuring and improving the health of the residents of the Lehigh Valley.  Ultimately, this research would be used to develop a comprehensive, Lehigh Valley-wide Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) and a cooperative Action Plan. 

Membership for the HCCLV included the following organizations:

  • The Dorothy Rider Pool Health Care Trust
  • Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital
  • KidsPeace Psychiatric Hospital
  • Lehigh Valley Health Network
  • St. Luke’s University Health Hospital
  • Sacred Heart HealthCare System

The HCCLV chose to incorporate many best practices outlined by both the American Public Health Association and the Association for Community Health Improvement in the development of the CHNA.  During this exhaustive process, the HCCLV:

  • Reviewed and incorporated existing community health studies performed by several well-respected entities;
  • Analyzed existing community health statistics and other secondary data;
  • Held multiple community engagement meetings;
  • Met on a monthly basis to discuss the findings; and
  • Communicated its work to the public seeking additional feedback.  

In November 2012, the HCCLV released The Road to Health.  This document (released in both English and Spanish) was crafted in an effort to synthesize the immense amount of data collected into an easy to understand analysis for the non-medical public. 

The findings were quite interesting: the Lehigh Valley has excellent care options for those with chronic disease as demonstrated by our lower-than-average mortality rates, but overall, we suffer from poor health, demonstrated by our higher-than-average morbidity rates. 

As noted above, these findings led to the creation of the regional Action Plan, which was approved by all members of the HCCLV.  The HCCLV members geographically overlap in the City of Allentown; as such the HCCLV chose to focus its attention on the City’s poorer and underserved area in Center City as its Community Benefit Service Area. 

One of the notable and historic outcomes of the entire process was an agreement to continue this collaborative effort for an additional three years.  Senior leadership of these organizations signed this updated Memorandum of Understanding

In addition to participating in the development of the cooperative Action Plan as well as agreeing to fully participate in its implementation, Sacred Heart HealthCare System has also chosen to develop the Sacred Heart HealthCare Action Plan(SHHAP).  The SHHAP was developed in an effort to promote tangible, systemic changes within Sacred Heart.  It should be noted that included in the SHHAP is an implementation strategy including membership in an oversight board. 

Both the Sacred Heart HealthCare System Board of Directors and the Sacred Heart Hospital Board of Directors ratified the CHNA, regional Action Plan and the SHHAP on June 25, 2013.   This fulfills the requirements set forth by Section 9007 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010.  Furthermore, these actions allow Sacred Heart HealthCare System to respond affirmatively to the  CHNA-related questions listed under Schedule H, Part V, Section B of IRS Form 990 as revised in 2010.

A printed copy of the entire Community Health Needs Assessment, The Road to Health, the regional Action Plan, SSHAP (including the implantation strategy), and the signed Memorandum of Understanding can be viewed in Administration Office at Sacred Heart Hospital, 421 W Chew Street, Allentown PA, 18102.   For more information, please contact Peter Schweyer, Director of Community and Government Affairs at (610) 776-8700 or via email at

Community Health Needs Assessment Documents