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Lee Health Board Approves Plan to Improve Community Health

From Chris Simoneau, Lee Health’s Chief Foundation and Development Officer

Lee Health’s Board of Directors recently approved the Community Health Needs Assessment Implementation Strategy and will begin executing the 2020-2023 plan, based on the needs identified in the Community Health Needs Assessment Report.

A Community Health Needs Assessment helps us identify health disparities in our community.

Since 2007, Lee Health has been conducting these on Southwest Florida to better understand the unique needs of our community and then, based on those needs, implement strategies to fill the gaps and promote overall optimal health.

The 2020-2023 Community Health Needs Assessment identifies the health system’s four top priorities, which are access to healthcare services, cardiovascular and respiratory conditions (includes stroke and tobacco use), mental health and substance use disorder and nutrition, physical activity and weight (includes diabetes). The Implementation Strategy outlines methods to address these needs.

Based on the results of this process, we along with our community partners have worked together to develop strategies to address the highest areas of need.

Implementation of programs identified in the plan are system- and community-wide. They capitalize on opportunities to improve the healthcare delivery model and the health status of the residents of Lee County. Some program initiatives highlighted in the plan include:

  • The launch of healthy cooking demonstrations in conjunction with food distribution partners
  • Support community collaborations to increase behavioral health programs and services
  • Vaping and tobacco prevention education programs and initiatives targeting youth and young adults
  • Community collaborations addressing transportation as a barrier to access
  • Provide screenings, education and referrals in partnership with community stakeholders
  • Increase provider involvement in physical activity recommendations for improved health outcomes.

The implementation plan integrates Lee Health’s mission and commitment to ongoing investments in the community to improve the overall health of the community through strategic partnerships, strengthen integration and connection of health programs and services for defined populations and decrease avoidable hospital utilization and readmission. 

Not-for-profit hospitals and health systems are required to assess community health needs and provide community benefit reports annually every three years. We have been doing this for many years prior to such a requirement.

You can learn more about the Community Health Needs Assessment and its implementation plan by visiting