FISHERSVILLE, Va. (WHSV) – Augusta Health hosted a community health needs assessment meeting on Wednesday, July 27, looking at the health needs for the Staunton, Augusta County and Waynesboro areas.
These assessments are done every three years; the last one was in 2019.
The hospital said they want to pay particular attention to access to health care, mental health, nutrition and physical activity, and diabetes.
The presentation began by taking a look at the overall health of the community. Most would consider themselves in good or excellent health, and 17.6% said they would consider their health fair or poor.
Bruce Lockwood with the Professional Research Consultants Group presented the information, and he said the percentage of people in good or poor health is “statistically higher” than in the US or Virginia.
“The sharp contrast is from the income level. For our purposes, this low-income category includes individuals who make up to 200% of the federal poverty level, which is about 52,000 for a family of four. It’s not necessarily the poorest of the poor, it’s a percentage that includes many families in the community,” he explained.
Access to care
In the Augusta County area, almost 8% of people are without any type of insurance. Lockwood said this is consistent with the Commonwealth and the nation. However, there are other barriers to accessing care.
About 45.8% of people said they experienced barriers to care.
“This is higher than what we see nationally. It has grown over time. It was about 37% in 2016, about 40% in 2019, now at about 46%,” Lockwood said.
27% of respondents said they refused to see a doctor because they could not get an appointment. This compares to 15% nationally. 16% of people said they missed an appointment because they couldn’t find a doctor. This compares to 9% nationally.
One factor that has improved for locals is transportation.
21% of people said their mental health was fair or poor, up from 8.7% in 2016.
Almost 23% of people said they are receiving some type of behavioral health treatment. Lockwood reported that there are about 70 mental health practitioners in the Augusta County area.
“For population size, that’s pretty typical for the state, but it’s well below the national ratio for providers to population,” Lockwood said.
8% of people reported that they would not be able to get treatment when they wanted, and this increases for at-risk groups such as women, young people and people with lower incomes.
Nutrition, physical activity and weight
72% of adults in their area are overweight or obese, which is higher than in the US, 61%, or in Virginia, 67%.
In terms of food insecurity, 21% of people were worried about running out of food or had run out. This rate is better than the national rate of 34%.
About 14% of people in the area meet current recommendations for physical activity. This number has fallen since the last assessment.
15% of respondents in the Staunton, Augusta and Waynesboro areas reported receiving a diagnosis of diabetes and 15% said they had received a diagnosis of prediabetes.
The data will be used to better serve the area. To learn more about the 2016 and 2019 assessments, click here.
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