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HealthFocused

Educational health information to improve your well-being.

What does it mean to be a Community Hospital?

November 26, 2018
Published in: Community Outreach

Staff checks vitals during the annual Diabetes Day event

Hospitals the world over are places to heal the sick and care for the injured. Most hospitals also work to help manage chronic diseases and keep people healthy. Community hospitals often take it one step further by working to care for and prevent illness for all in the community, including the most vulnerable populations—those without insurance, those without homes, young children, older adults and perhaps just those who feel they are alone.

Projects and programs that insure Augusta Health is keeping the Community in Community Hospital.

Health Needs Areas of Opportunity

Augusta County, including Staunton and Waynesboro

  1. Nutrition, Physical Activity and Weight
  2. Diabetes
  3. Mental Health
  4. Heart Disease and Stroke
  5. Access to Healthcare Services
  6. Cancer
  7. Substance Abuse
  8. Dementia, including Alzheimer's Disease
  9. Respiratory Diseases
  10. Tobacco
  11. Chronic Kidney Disease
  12. Injury and Violence
  13. Oral Health

See the Community Health Needs Assessment for the findings and report.

Augusta Health, like all community hospitals, is a mission-driven organization. It's mission—to promote the health and well-being of our community through access to excellent care—is put into motion both inside the hospital's wall and outside in the community. While many are aware of the programs and services inside the hospital, most are not aware of the number of collaborative, health-focused projects that Augusta Health provides with partners throughout the community.

Collaboration is important. Since Augusta County is larger in area than either the state of Rhode Island or the state of Delaware, it's geographically challenging to care for all who need it. But many hands make light work. Partnerships of many organizations working together make a larger impact on the health of the community.

Focus and prioritization are important, too. An area as large as Augusta County presents many needs. To determine which health needs are the highest priorities for the region, Augusta Health coordinates a Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) every three years. A CHNA is a systematic, data-driven approach to determine the health status, behaviors and areas of greatest health need. It provides information so the health issues of greatest concern can be identified and resources can be prioritized to make the largest impact on the health status of the community.

While a CHNA and a corresponding Implementation Strategy must be done every three years in order to satisfy certain tax requirements under the Affordable Care Act of 2010, Augusta Health does not complete the CHNA simply to meet regulations. Augusta Health understands a CHNA provides the information need to help it serve the community in the best way, and that sharing of that information with others in the community helps everyone serve the community better.

During the CHNA process, secondary data was gathered from existing databases and sources. Additionally, primary data was collected through random phone surveys of community residents and input from a group of 'key informants' who represented various sectors of the community. Once completed, Areas of Opportunity, the significant health needs of the community, were determined.

After reviewing all the Areas of Opportunity with community stakeholders, Augusta Health internally formed a multi-disciplinary Implementation Team to focus on the top three areas selected by the group. They were selected based on the scope and severity of the need in the community and Augusta Health's ability to impact the need. The three focused areas were identified as Nutrition and Physical Activity, Diabetes and Mental Health.

The Implementation Team broke into three work groups focused around each priority area and wrote Action Plans with strategic goals, objectives and outcome measures. These Action Plans became an Implementation Strategy to improve the health and well-being of our community.

Turning these Action Plans from plan to action has been a key focus of the past year. Working with many other organizations throughout Staunton, Augusta County and Waynesboro, implementation of several programs and pilot projects has begun—each with a purpose, goal and outcomes to be measured to insure they are effective in improving the health of all in the community. These include Healthcare for the Homeless, Get Fresh and Walk to School programs in Waynesboro Public Schools and the AMI Farm at Augusta Health and its associated projects.

Follow our series about Community Outreach where we take a close look at the initiatives taking place to address nutrition and physical activity, diabetes, and mental health in Staunton, Augusta, and Waynesboro.