Why Are Some US Nonprofit Hospitals Not Addressing Opioid Misuse in Their Communities?

Cory E. Cronin, Berkeley Franz, José A. Pagán

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The US opioid epidemic is national in scope, but many local solutions have been shown to have efficacy. Many nonprofit hospitals have the resources and infrastructure to lead these community-based efforts, but there is evidence that some organizations are not adopting opioid services as part of their community benefit requirements to assess and address critical community health needs. This paper assesses why hospitals do not address opioid abuse after completing a community health needs assessment. For a 20% random sample of nonprofit hospitals, a unique data set was constructed of hospital efforts to address opioid abuse using the most recent publicly available community health needs assessments and implementation strategies adopted by hospitals (calendar years 2015, 2016, 2017, or 2018). Multinomial logistic regression was used to assess the relationship between 5 different reasons hospitals cited for not addressing opioid abuse and both hospital and community characteristics. Results indicate that opioid abuse was not addressed by 32% (143) of hospitals in their formal implementation strategies. State community benefit laws, county overdose level, county poverty rate, hospital region, and hospital system membership all were significantly related to the reasons hospitals cited for not addressing opioid abuse as part of their community health engagement. Hospitals in communities with significant substance abuse needs and few institutional resources may need support to address opioid misuse and adopt treatment and harm reduction initiatives. Policies that support hospital-public health partnerships may be especially important to assist hospitals to address nonmedical or behavioral health needs in their communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)407-413
Number of pages7
JournalPopulation Health Management
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • hospitals
  • nonprofit
  • opioids
  • public health partnerships
  • substance abuse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Leadership and Management
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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