Heart Disease is a Major Health Concern in the Valley

By: Dave Byknish@whsv.com Email
By: Dave Byknish@whsv.com Email

HARRISONBURG, Va. -- Because of rules in the Affordable Care Act, every three years, Rockingham Memorial Hospital, RMH, is required to assess what health concerns our community is experiencing.

What the results show this year is that our health needs in the Valley mostly reflect national trends.

“We see a lot of heart disease, heart failure. Adult and child obesity is the top concern. Mental health and substance abuse. Teen pregnancy was something that was a little bit different for our region,” said RMH Community Health Manager Katherine Montgomery.

A survey sent to more than 100 health care providers and business leaders helped RMH discover those needs. Now, the focus for hospital leaders is how to meet them.

“We really want to focus our efforts on prevention and early detection because we want to improve the health related quality of life for our community through our services.”

Some ideas how that prevention could work include a personal responsibility education program with James Madison University to combat teen pregnancy, a community garden to help curb obesity and two new substance abuse specialists already staffed thanks to a $3 million federal grant.

“We have the resources in place, we have many resources. Getting people on board with referral and that kind of thing can really help to alleviate some of those concerns.”

While the Valley may face many other health concerns, the leaders who conducted the study at RMH believe the results of their assessment should help explain the causes of some major health issues.

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