The Community Health Services Development (CHSD) project is a community health needs assessment process that helps Montana Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) engage members of their rural community, identify and measure the community’s health needs, recognize potential gaps in healthcare services, and develop specific strategies to prioritize and address the health needs that were identified during the CHSD process.


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CHSD involves a steering committee to actively engage community members, a random sample mailed survey, local focus groups and key informant interviews, and an implementation planning process with the hospital’s leadership team. In recent years, the CHSD process has been modified to comply with the IRS 990 Schedule H requirements for CAHs to provide community benefit to their service area. To date, over 40 communities in Montana have used the CHSD process to conduct a community health needs assessment to inform their hospitals’ community benefit plan and improve the overall health of their community. 

CHSD Application/Letter of Commitment

The MHREF Flex Program has funding available to assist up to eight (8) CAHs in completing their Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) and Implementation Planning process through the Montana Office of Rural Health. Matching funds of $6,750 are available to cover the implementation planning portion - the remaining funds would be covered by your facility ($6,750). If you are interested in this opportunity, please fill out this form. If you would rather fill out the PDF application, please email CHSD Project Coordinator, to request a copy. Priority will be given to those who submit their letter by September 30, 2022.