Virginia Hospitals, Virginia Department of Health Partner on New Population Health Effort

April 25, 2018

The ‘Partnering for a Healthy Virginia Initiative’ Focuses on Enhancing Community Health and Improving Key Population Health Metrics

RICHMOND, VA – The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association (VHHA) have formed a new partnership to improve population health in the Commonwealth. The Partnering for a Healthy Virginia Initiative will coordinate efforts between VHHA and its member hospitals and health systems, and VDH, local health departments, local jurisdictions, the medical community, and other stakeholders to address population health. This work will be informed by the findings of current and future community health needs assessments (CHNA), which are completed every three years by Virginia hospitals to assess the health needs of the communities they serve and obtain data necessary for developing strategies to address priority needs. A Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) establishing this joint effort was signed today by Acting State Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver, MD, MA, and incoming VHHA Board of Directors Chairman Mark H. Merrill, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Valley Health System, at the VHHA Annual Meeting in Williamsburg.

“Virginia’s hospitals are committed to doing all we can to make the Commonwealth the healthiest state in the nation,” said 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. Through this work with VDH on the Partnering for a Healthy Virginia Initiative, Virginia’s hospitals are committed to doing our part to improving our ranking on these measures.”

“Our mission,” noted M. Norman Oliver, MD, MA, the Acting State Health Commissioner and agency head at VDH, “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, multi-sectorial 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.”

Through this partnership, VDH and VHHA will work to address population health by:

  • Forming a multi-stakeholder, statewide population health committee to prioritize and develop strategies for improving Virginia’s rankings on population health metrics and addressing determinants that impact health care costs and health and well-being outcomes.
  • Strengthening the state’s community health improvement coalitions by identifying and supporting existing coalitions and assisting in the development of new coalitions where none exist.
  • Focusing efforts on chronic conditions and issues identified by CHNAs such as obesity, smoking, and chronic diseases, particularly in rural Virginia and socioeconomically distressed communities.
  • Developing strategies to improve issues identified in CHNAs including behavioral health and prescription drug misuse.
  • Identifying key strategies to combat cultural, economic, geographic, and racial health disparities.
    Leveraging data and analytics tools, such as VHHA Analytics and the VDH Data Portal, to provide timely population health insights.
  • Identifying areas where funding is needed to support implementation of programs to address community health needs, and collaborating to seek out appropriate private or public grants from foundations, government agencies, and other entities.

“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,” said 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.”

About VHHA: The Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association is an alliance of 110 hospitals and 27 health delivery systems that develops and advocates for sound health care policy in the Commonwealth. Its vision is to achieve excellence in both health care and health. Its vision is through the power of collaboration to be recognized as a driving force behind making Virginia the healthiest state in the nation. Connect with VHHA through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and


Julian Walker
Vice President of Communications
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