HISTORY

The Benton Franklin Community Health Alliance (BFCHA) began in 1993 as a task force of community leaders from Benton and Franklin Counties who believed that the community needed a cancer treatment facility, but that funding needs were too large for any one hospital to absorb alone. The project brought the three hospitals–Kadlec Regional Medical Center, Lourdes Health Network, and Kennewick General Hospital (now Trios Health)–together with a coalition of community leaders to meet a serious community need. The hospitals worked together to finance and operate the Tri-Cities Cancer Center, which has become a world-class cancer treatment facility associated with the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.

 

The first Health Needs Assessment, conducted in 1995, identified the need for six working groups: child immunization, children’s dental needs, teen pregnancy, domestic violence, access for the uninsured, and tobacco use. The immunization program was so successful that the child immunization rate went from 43% to over 80% for 2 year olds. By 1997, it was clear that the task force needed an administrator to coordinate and facilitate all activities of the committees, monitor timelines and project milestones, and report to the Executive Committee.

 

In 2002, BFCHA incorporated the non-profit Tri-Cities Healthcare Task Force and was recognized by the IRS as a 501(3)(c) and a non-profit by the State of Washington. Around this same time, Stanford organizational scientists recognized the task force’s governance structure and business model as “Collective Impact.” This  was important recognition of the  work of the task force in tackling health issues, such as childhood immunizations and dental disease, while also addressing socially complex issues like access to health care, domestic violence, and reducing inappropriate emergency department use.

 

In 2010, Community Health Needs Assessments (CHNA) became a reporting requirement of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act for non-profit hospitals. Meanwhile, BHCHA and the Benton-Franklin Health District (BFHD) began the process of National Public Health accreditation, which also required a CHNA. The Health Alliance, its partner hospitals, and the Health District collaborate to produce the Community Health Needs Assessments and subsequent Community Health Improvement Plans.