Health assessment moves forward

Published 12:27 pm Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Projects in the region to address top health needs in the area are one step closer to happening, as Centra Health’s board of directors recently approved The Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA).

The CHNA, which extends from 2018-2021, was born out of work from several area and regional organizations that include Centra Health, Community Access Network, Centra Foundation.

Data collection for the more than 200-page study was completed in June 2018.

The core team consisted of Centra Southside Community Hospital, Dr. Robert Nash with the Piedmont Health District and Bill Varner with United Way of Central Virginia, according to a release from Centra Health.

The 2018 Farmville Area Community Health Assessment Team included representatives from STEPS Inc., Centra Southside Community Hospital, United Way, Buckingham County’s and Prince Edward County’s Departments of Social Services, Piedmont Senior Resources Area Agency on Aging, Cumberland County government, Farmville Police Department, Longwood University, Central Virginia Health Services, Heart of Virginia Free Clinic, Farmville Presbyterian Church, FACES Food Pantry, Hampden-Sydney College and Virginia Cooperative Extension.

Lisa Taylor is with the Community Access Network in Lynchburg. The Community Access Network, with core partners Centra Health, Piedmont Health District and United Way of Central Virginia among others, led the study.

Taylor said this assessment included an enormous amount of community input into the issues that most affect people who live in the area.

“We are lifting the community’s voice to tell us what their needs are, and what the needs are in the community,” Taylor said, “and then we can turn around and prioritize and create implementation strategies.”

Taylor said plans to implement the findings of the assessment are underway.


The 2018-2021 health needs assessment covered the counties of Lunenburg, Prince Edward, Buckingham, Cumberland, Charlotte, Nottoway and Amelia.

The study totals 210 pages and provides demographic information about the region, and health-related needs.

Members of the community that encompasses the seven counties completed health surveys that was distributed and used for the study.

According to the study, 920 total surveys were collected with an 88 percent completion rate. Results were also gathered through a series of focus groups

The top 10 health assessment needs identified, according to the assessment, includes access to affordable health care; access to healthy foods; access to affordable housing; diabetes care; access to mental health service and care for mental health issues; substance use; overweight or obesity; transportation; poverty; and poor eating habits.

The top health assessment need, according to the study, was access to affordable health care, totaling 54.87 percent of community responses to the health survey.

Access to healthy foods and affordable housing were also among the top three, at 25.17 percent and 24.41 percent respectively.

According to findings from the assessment, approximately 48 percent of respondents said visit a doctor’s office for health care. 26.8 percent responded using emergency rooms for health care.

Sixteen percent of respondents said they did not have health care, close to 25 percent reported being publicly insured with programs such as Medicaid and Medicare. Approximately 37 percent reported having employer-provided insurance.

Cost was cited by 48.90 percent as the reason preventing respondents from receiving health care, while 32.68 percent cited high co-pays and 23.99 percent cited long waits for appointments.

According to the study, while 95 percent of respondents said they received their food from grocery stores, 36 percent said they purchase food from a dollar store, 34.8 percent said they purchase takeout/fast food, 26.2 percent said they use a home garden and 21.9 said they purchase food from a farmers market.

According to the study, 36.60 percent of respondents cited that safe and affordable housing was difficult to access in the region.

The study cited that according to data reported between 2010-2014 with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 13 percent of Lunenburg households were found to have severe housing problems.

Housing problems included overcrowding, high housing costs or lack of kitchen or plumbing facilities.

Stakeholders who responded to surveys said the top five needs they see of the communities they serve are transportation; access to health care; access to housing; resources for substance use care; and health literacy.

The Farmville (Piedmont Health District) service area, according to the assessment, has striking deficits in health outcomes (a measure of the morbidity and mortality of a county) and health factors (what influences the health of a county).

Five out of seven localities, according to the assessment, have health outcome and health factor measures that rank in the bottom 25 percent of all Virginia localities, the study cited. The No. 1 signifies the best health outcomes and health factors, while 133 represents the lowest. Lunenburg measured 111 in health outcomes risk and 95 in health factors risk.