access to care, mental health, nutrition and physical activity, diabetes


FISHERSVILLE, Va. (WHSV) – Augusta Health hosted a Community Health Needs Assessment meeting on Wednesday, July 27, reviewing 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 healthcare, mental health, nutrition and physical activity, and diabetes.

General health

The presentation started by taking a look at the general health of the community. The majority 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 fair or poor health is “statistically higher” than in the US or Virginia.

“The sharp contrast is by income level. For our purposes, this low-income category includes individuals making 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 encompasses a lot of 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 that’s in line with the commonwealth and nation. However, there are other barriers to accessing care.

About 45.8% of people said they’ve experienced barriers to care.

“That’s higher than we see nationally. It has increased over time. It was about 37% in 2016, about 40% in 2019, now at about 46%,” said Lockwood.

27% of respondents said they passed up making a doctor’s appointment because they couldn’t get an appointment. That’s compared to 15% nationally. 16% of people said they passed up an appointment because they couldn’t find a doctor. That’s compared to 9% nationally.

One factor that has improved for locals is transportation.

Mental health

21% of people said their mental health was fair or poor, which is up from 8.7% in 2016.

Almost 23% of people said they’re receiving some type of behavioral health treatment. Lockwood reported there are about 70 mental health practitioners in the Augusta County area.

“For the population size, that’s pretty typical for the state, but it is well below the national ratio for providers to population,” said Lockwood.

8% of people reported they’d not been able to get treatment when they wanted it, and that increases for at-risk groups, like women, young adults and lower-income residents.

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%.

As for food insecurity, 21% of people were worried about running out of food or did run out. That rate is better than the national rate of 34%.

About 14% of people in the area meet current recommendations for physical activity. That number has dropped since the last assessment.

Diabetes

15% of respondents in the Staunton, Augusta, and Waynesboro areas reported they’ve received a diagnosis of diabetes, and 15% said they’ve 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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