The AHA today released a toolkit to help hospitals and health systems in vulnerable rural and urban communities engage their communities in discussions on how to ensure continued access to essential health care services. “These conversations will be critical as you work collaboratively to identify and address the needs most important in your own community,” the resource notes. Building on the AHA task force’s 2016 report on strategies to ensure access to essential health care services in vulnerable communities, the toolkit offers ways to broadly engage stakeholders through community conversation events and the community health needs assessment process; dialog with specific stakeholders such as patients and families, trustees and clinicians; and expand community conversations through social media. To access the toolkit and other AHA resources on ensuring access to care in vulnerable communities, visit

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