Climate Change and CHNAs of Georgia Not-For-Profit Hospitals: A Missed Opportunity

Document Type


Publication Date



Climate change presents a threat to public health through multiple channels: temperature increases, extreme precipitation variations, worsened air quality, increased vector borne disease, increased water-related illness, food safety issues, and mental health challenges. Given the role of hospitals in advancing the health of the communities in which they serve, proactive planning for climate change threats is imperative. Hospital climate change planning efforts might be documented in organizational strategic plans, but it could also be discussed in hospital Community Health Needs Assessments (CHNAs). CHNAs, and their associated implementation plans, were made a requirement for all tax-exempt hospitals by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. CHNAs provide hospitals an opportunity to improve the health of the communities they serve. They need not be limited only to healthcare delivery needs, but should also cover other community health needs, including environmental ones. The CHNAs (but not the implementation plans) are required to be widely available to the public. The objective of this research is to give an overview of how Georgia not-for-profit hospitals and healthcare systems address climate change within CHNAs. A comparative analysis and a discussion of relevant policy issues will be included. The presentation will educate public health professionals within the health administration field. The CHNAs of Georgia not-for-profit hospitals were systematically reviewed. A list of applicable hospitals and healthcare systems was obtained from the American Hospital Association’s AHA Guide, 2017 edition. Each hospital’s CHNA was collected from the hospital’s website or other publicly available source. Queries used consisted of variable search terms to elicit information applicable to climate change specifically or indirectly to health threats associated with climate change. The study findings indicate most not-for-profit hospitals in Georgia have not utilized CHNAs to focus on local community environmental health threats caused by climate change, clearly a missed opportunity.


American Public Health Association Annual Meeting (APHA)


Atlanta, GA