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Healthy Roanoke Valley’s goals are bold, but an army of advocates are already working to achieve them.
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Solving today’s health care challenges will require a willingness to reach beyond minimal requirements to set stretch goals, and an ability to energize others to embrace those goals.
That’s true on the national, state and regional levels. Here in the Roanoke Valley, Carilion Clinic leaders set a laudable example last year after they completed a health needs assessment for the region, as dictated by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Carilion officials wanted to do more than just gather data on their community’s needs. They reached out to Pat Young of Community Works, and she in turn began reaching out to public and private groups across the region. Soon, health advocates from 50 organizations had joined the Healthy Roanoke Valley initiative. With the United Way acting as a facilitator, representatives from Carilion and its network of partners spent six months developing a strategic plan, which was unveiled last week.
The goals are bold: increase access to medical services, improve coordination of care and build a “culture of wellness” in the Roanoke Valley.
The particular steps identified to achieve those goals are even bolder: Train and recruit more primary care providers, behavioral health care specialists and dentists to the area and make them part of an effort to build a larger and sturdier safety net for the uninsured and underinsured. Develop a business plan for a community dental clinic. Develop a resource center to steer individuals and families toward the services they need — in other words, help them find better options than costly and inefficient emergency room care.
The goals may seen daunting, but they are tangible and they are based on hard data identifying this region’s needs. Most important, an army of health care advocates has already fallen into step for what promises to be a long but rewarding journey.
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