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Healthy Communities Partnership

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“Affordable Care Act) enacted March 2010 requires non-profit healthcare organizations to conduct Community Health Needs Assessments for each hospital that represents the broad interest of the community each hospital serves. This legislation resulted in Mary Washington Healthcare and the Rappahannock Area Health District launching the Healthy Communities Partnership in May 2011. The Healthy Communities Partnership was charged with completing a Community Health Needs Assessment to identify high priority healthcare needs within the regional Mary Washington Healthcare service area. The Healthy Communities Partnership is financially supported by Mary Washington Healthcare, the Rappahannock United Way, Rappahannock Area Community Services Board, Kaiser Permanente of the Mid Atlantic States, and the Mary Washington Hospital Foundation. The Performance Management Group at Virginia Commonwealth University was contracted to facilitate planning meetings, gather and analyze related data, and manage project timelines and schedules.

The Healthy Communities Partnership established three committees: Advisory, Steering, and Communications Committee. The Healthy Communities Partnership’s Advisory Committee is comprised of 40 community volunteers representing regional hospitals, health departments and insurers, private businesses, community-based organizations, and healthcare and mental health services providers. The Healthy Communities Partnership’s Advisory Committee’s chief responsibilities are to:

  • provide input on all aspects of the Partnership, and
  • to provide input to the Steering Committee on priority needs, resources, and healthcare goals for the community.

The Healthy Communities Partnership’s Steering Committee includes representatives from Mary Washington Healthcare, the United Way, GEICO, the Moss Free Clinic, the Rappahannock Emergency Medical Services Council, Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center, and the Rappahannock Area Health District. The Healthy Communities Partnership’s Steering Committee’s responsibilities include:

  • serving as the coordinating body,
  • making operational decisions on behalf of the Partnership,
  • developing the Community Health Needs Assessment plan,
  • reviewing data, selecting a healthcare priority for further focus,
  • preparing the Community Health Needs Assessment Report,
  • guiding the community-based intervention,
  • seeking input from the Advisory Committee on key decisions, and
  • providing periodic updates to the Committee and/or external stakeholders

The Healthy Communities Partnership’s Communications Committee will support and inform the Partnership’s messaging, marketing, and community outreach efforts.

2012 Community Health Needs Assessment Summary

This summary shares highlights of the Healthy Communities Partnership’s Community Health Needs Assessment. Data collection focused on the following areas: community input, vital statistics, reasons for doctor and clinic visits, risk factors for common illness, lifestyle improvements, and localities where residents were not meeting established health targets. Some data is available only on the countywide level but still provides valuable information. Both qualitative and quantitative data was collected between August and December 2011.

Qualitative primary research:
The qualitative primary research for the 2012 Community Health Needs Assessment was conducted by key informant interviews with community leaders from public & private organizations selected for the Healthy Communities Partnership’s Advisory Committee and engagement of Mary Washington Healthcare’s Citizen Advisory Council, along with solicited community input.

Secondary data and information sources:
Information was obtained from a number of different sources such as the Healthy Communities Institute’s Community Health Information Resource tool (CHIR), the Virginia Department of Health, the American Community Survey, the Urban Institute, information supplied directly from a sample of healthcare service providers within the defined community, and Healthy People 2020.

The Steering Committee of the Health Communities Partnership reviewed and established decision-making criteria to guide their discussions regarding identification of the region’s highest priority healthcare needs. The criteria that follow are not listed in order of priority:

  1. Magnitude of the identified priority
  2. Severity of the problem – the risk of morbidity and mortality associated with the problem
  3. Alignment of the priority with the community’s strengths and health priorities
  4. Impact of the identified priority on vulnerable populations – health care disparity
  5. Importance of the priority to the community
  6. Existing resources addressing the identified priority
  7. Relationship of the priority to other community issues
  8. Affordability of intervention strategies
  9. Potential for short-term and long-term impact on the community

The criteria yielded The Top Ten Health Priorities identified through the Healthy Communities Partnership’s Community Health Needs Assessment.

  1. Cancer (Colorectal, Lung, Breast)
  2. Cardiovascular Disease
  3. Obesity
  4. Diabetes
  5. Mental Health Issues
  6. Access, Awareness & Affordability of Healthcare
  7. Tobacco Use
  8. Substance Abuse
  9. Dental Health
  10. Seniors Health Issues (osteoporosis, dementia, falls/fractures)

The Healthy Communities Partnership determined that access to primary care providers closely ties to all of the health care conditions identified by the Community Health Needs Assessment, impacts incidence and disease mortality rates, and affects the overall quality of life for area residents. Therefore, the primary issue that the Healthy Communities Partnership will address in 2012 is to: Increase the number of indigent/uninsured people who have a medical home and/or access to a primary care provider (first contact of care). For more information on The Healthy Communities Partnership, please click here to see the Final Progress Report. You may also contact Phil Brown, Mary Washington Healthcare’s representative and Chair of the Healthy Communities Partnership at (540) 741-2436 or Philip.Brown@mwhc.com

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