United Way NSV Works for a Healthier Community
Good Health is both a community responsibility and a community benefit: it goes beyond personal diet, exercise and the many other individual choices we make. The foundation for a healthy life is in the neighborhoods we have built and environments we inhabit. When people have access to parks, bike paths, safe playgrounds, healthy foods, and good medical care, they are more likely to succeed in school, work and life.
2020-2023 Community Needs Assessment Strategic Priorities
Our strategic priorities are meant to set a roadmap for the community, our partner agencies, and other strategic partners. At the same time, we pride ourselves on the ability to meet immediate and emerging needs in the community and reserve the right to change, amend or add strategic priorities should the needs of the community change. No one can predict with certainty how the COVID-19 pandemic will impact the needs of the community and we are committed to adjusting our strategic priorities should we need to in order to address ongoing and potentially unforeseen needs.
The 2020-2023 UWNSV Community Needs Assessment, released in July of 2020, identified the following as United Way NSV priorities through 2023.
Key Findings from our 2020-2023 Community Needs Assessment Include:
- Food deserts – low-income areas more than one mile from a supermarket or large grocery store in urban areas and more than 10 miles from a supermarket or large grocery store in rural areas – exist in six of the nine counties plus Winchester City in WMC’s primary service area. In the secondary service area, food deserts exist in two of four counties.
- Ninety-eight schools in the WMC community, located in every county except Clarke, had 40% or more of their students eligible for free and reduced-price lunches, indicating risks of poor nutrition and hunger.
- While there has been some growth in providers, the Winchester community is experiencing lower ratio rates when it comes to the number of primary care physicians per 100,000 populations, the number of available dentists, and an increased need for additional mental health providers.
- The Winchester community is below the Virginia ratio in several counties for these types of providers, according to the County Health Rankings report.
- Four of six Virginia counties in the service area ranked in the bottom half of all counties in their respective states on “access to care” in the County Health Rankings.
- Six of the nine counties in WMC’s primary service area, plus Winchester City, have higher percentages of uninsured residents than their respective states, according to the U.S. Census.
- Seven counties overall have higher percentages of uninsured residents than their respective states. Nine of the thirteen counties have higher percentages of uninsured residents than the U.S.
- Concerns about access to care were the most frequently mentioned factor contributing to poor health in key informant interviews.
- Lack of accessible or reliable transportation to health care appointments and a lack of providers who accept new Medicaid and even Medicare patients, were the most frequently mentioned specific access to care issues in interviews, especially for low-income individuals and senior citizens.
- 32% of survey respondents reported not being able to get needed basic primary care due to lack of insurance and 14.4% reported that they could not afford the medical care.
- Participants in interviews believe that low-income housing and poverty were the top issues contributing to poor health status and limited care. Other income-related factors noted include difficulty with securing transportation to medical appointments and homelessness.
- In the survey, low income and financial challenges were reported. For survey respondents who reported not being able to always get the care they needed, affordability and lack of insurance coverage were the reasons most frequently mentioned.
- Nine of the thirteen counties in WMC’s community reported poor mental health days higher than their state’s average according to the County Health Rankings report.
- There are twelve locations in WMC’s community that are designated as a medically underserved area or population.
- The suicide rate in ten of the thirteen counties in the overall service area for which data were available was worse than their respective state’s rates, according to the state health departments in Virginia and West Virginia.
- Major concerns mentioned by key informants were the need for more providers to care for children with mental and behavioral health issues. The WMC community has limited resources for this type of community need.
- An additional concern mentioned by key informants was connecting patients with services needed. Wait times are very long for patients to see a clinician.
- A health factor of alcohol use based on binge and excessive drinking placed Clarke and Frederick counties in the second quartile of all Virginia counties, according to County Health Rankings report.
- Substance abuse was a major concern and mentioned frequently by key informant interview participants. It was portrayed as a growing and serious issue.
- Substance abusers are often classified as offenders, and have limited options for seeking treatment.
- In the WMC community, suicide rates were higher than the state averages.
We recognize that funding alone cannot alone solve deeply rooted community problems. Our strategy at United Way NSV is to provide funding to innovative programs that support community-wide goals, but to not stop there by going above and beyond to advocate for community change, convene community leaders around community issues and educate businesses, community leaders and the public at large about how to best support an effort for positive community change.
Our comprehensive impact strategy includes:
- FUNDING: Funding innovative programs that support community-wide goals
- ADVOCACY: Advocating for the voiceless to ensure policy and program improvement
- CONVENING: Collaborating with those who have the passion, expertise and resources to drive change
- EDUCATING: Educating businesses, community leaders and the public on critical local issues
United Way Worldwide partners with organizations like FamilyWize that share the view that the way to improve lives is by mobilizing the caring power of communities. Our long-term commitments are essential to addressing key social issues, such as promoting financial stability and independence, and improving people’s health.
These savings cards are being distributed through United Way NSV, partner agencies and other organizations in the area for people with no or limited prescription drug coverage. There is no cost to you or your family for this discount card and there are no enrollment or eligibility requirements.
In the summer of 2019, Connect NSV was developed through a relationship with a company called Unite Us® through the support of a collaborative effort between George Mason University and Valley Health. Connect NSV is a coordinated referral network that seamlessly connects community members to services while allowing service providers to communicate in real time about their shared clients' care and track outcomes together.
Connect NSV is powered by Unite Us, a technology company that builds coordinated care networks of health and human service providers. The company empowers both medical and social service providers to work together, integrating health and social care. With Unite Us, providers across sectors can send and receive secure referrals, track every person’s total health journey, and report on tangible outcomes across a full range of services in a centralized, cohesive, and collaborative ecosystem. This social infrastructure helps communities transform their ability to track outcomes, improve health and measure impact at scale.
All Connect NSV community partners are trained to administer the SBIRT standardized screening and to send referrals through the Unite Us platform. No longer restricted to a clinical setting, these SBIRT screenings and referrals are successfully happening within the community at the grassroots level. Partners can engage, respond, and meaningfully track what happens to their clients.
2020-2023 Strategic Priorities
Goal: All households have easy to access and ample, affordable, high quality, preventative, immediate and follow-up health and dental care.
- Improve access to necessary health care services and those that reduce barriers to receiving and accessing health care services. (F, A)
- Increase access to affordable, high quality and regular dental care. (F, A, C)
Goal: Households have access to the necessary supports to address the negative effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), violence and physical hazards; communities support people’s health, safety, and development.
- Support an equitable community-wide system of trauma-informed care, provides accessible evidence-based treatments from trained, knowledgeable, and culturally literate specialists in adequate supply. (A, C)
- Reduce intimate partner violence, domestic violence, and child abuse. (F)
Goal: Households will demonstrate improved behavioral health by reporting better mental health and a reduction in substance abuse, and reduced stigma that is a barrier to care.
- Ensure a continuum of services exists to meet behavioral health needs. (F, A, C, E)
- Provide immediate and adequate access to substance abuse services for those who are in crisis. (F)
- Expand community awareness and reduce stigma associated with having mental health and substance use disorders. (F, A, C, E)