Memorial Medical Center, HSHS St. John’s Hospital and the Sangamon County Department of Public Health are once again collaborating on a project to assess the health needs of the residents of Sangamon county.  As part of the assessment process, the two Springfield nonprofit hospitals and the county health department will ask all county residents to help identify pressing community health needs through an online community survey.

The survey will be open until Feb. 12, 2018. Residents can take the survey at The survey research department at the University of Illinois at Springfield will conduct the online survey.

Printed copies of the survey also will be available to various community organizations to distribute to residents who don’t have access to a computer. Printed copies are available at the Sangamon County Department of Public Health, 2833 S. Grand Ave. E, Springfield, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Nonprofit hospitals must complete a community health needs assessment every three years, a requirement of the Affordable Care Act of 2010. Hospitals provide their reports to the Internal Revenue Service.

Following the survey, the university will provide the hospitals and the county health department with an outcomes report. The hospitals and county health department will determine which health priorities they should address over the next three years and how to implement those priorities. Those priorities will be announced in late 2018.

In 2015, the two hospitals and the county health department completed their first collaborative assessment, drawing from feedback provided by 781 residents who responded to the survey. That led to the Springfield hospitals jointly supporting a project to increase access to care in the Enos Park Neighborhood, a low-income neighborhood between the two hospitals.

In addition to their collaborative initiative in Enos Park, each hospital developed separate community health priorities. Memorial Medical Center focused on mental health and obesity. HSHS St. John’s Hospital focused on pediatric mental health, pediatric obesity and pediatric asthma. Sangamon County Department of Public Health adopted child abuse, access to care and asthma as priorities.

Other central Illinois hospital affiliates with Memorial Health System and Hospital Sisters Health System will prepare separate community health needs assessments for their respective counties.