A new partnership aims to improve health across the Commonwealth.
Today the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association (VHHA) announced they will work together to address current and future community health needs through an effort with ‘Partnering for a Healthy Virginia Initiative.’
“Virginia’s hospitals are committed to doing all we can to make the Commonwealth the healthiest state in the nation,” says Michael V. Gentry, outgoing VHHA Board of Directors Chairman and Sentara Healthcare Senior Corporate Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. “While Virginia is ranked among the top states in the country in quality of care, particularly in the acute care setting, the Commonwealth has work to do to improve population health measures.”
Adds Dr. M. Norman Oliver, the Acting State Health Commissioner and agency head at VDH, “Our mission is to protect and improve the health of the Commonwealth. The ‘Partnering for a Healthy Virginia Initiative’ is a bold step toward building the broad, multisectorial coalitions of health care providers, public health practitioners, local and state governments, employers, and other stakeholders necessary to address the health-related social needs that drive the health and well-being of the Commonwealth. We look forward to working with VHHA to make Virginia the healthiest state in the nation.”
The initiative has several goals. Among them, it will focus on chronic conditions like obesity and smoking. It will develop strategies to improve the response to behavioral health and prescription drug misuse. Through the partnership, health leaders will also work to identify strategies to combat cultural, economic, geographic and racial disparities.
“VHHA has long partnered with VDH on many successful initiatives to improve the health and well-being of the Commonwealth such as reducing infant mortality, providing education and resources to Virginia’s small and rural hospitals, reducing health care-associated infections, the Neonatal Perinatal Collaborative and the Hospital Preparedness Program, among others,” says Mark H. Merrill, the incoming VHHA Board of Directors Chair, and President and CEO of Valley Health System. “The ‘Partnering for a Healthy Virginia Initiative’ is a natural extension of these efforts. Only by working together with key stakeholders can VDH and Virginia hospitals
achieve our shared goal of making Virginia the healthiest state in the nation.”