Virtua’s service area includes Camden, Burlington, and Gloucester Counties in South Jersey. Camden County has a population of approximately 514,000, and the city of Camden sits on its edge, just across the Delaware River from Philadelphia. The city of Camden has significantly higher poverty rates, unemployment rates, and crime rates compared to surrounding areas. Burlington County’s total population is approximately 449,000, and Gloucester County’s total population is about 288,000.
Virtua is a comprehensive healthcare system headquartered in Marlton, NJ. The Virtua system includes three hospitals:
- Virtua Marlton
- Virtua Memorial
- Virtua Voorhees
Virtua also provides services through an ambulatory care center in Camden, as well as rehabilitation and long-term care centers, Mobile Intensive Care Units, home care and physical therapy throughout Burlington, Camden and Gloucester counties. In addition, Virtua operates health and wellness centers in Voorhees, Washington Township and Moorestown. Virtua's programs have earned numerous national quality accreditations, placing Virtua among an elite class of leading hospitals across the U.S. As the largest healthcare system in the region, Virtua’s mission is to help people be well, get well and stay well.
A non-profit organization, Virtua is one of the area's largest employers. Virtua employs more than 8,000 clinical and administrative personnel, and more than 1,800 physicians serve on the medical staff.
Identified needs and implementation plan development
Community Health Needs Assessment Results
The CHNA revealed the communities’ key issues and areas of opportunity. The assessment contributes supporting data and enables Virtua to take an in-depth look at its greater community and to develop evidence based implementation strategies. Significant results from the CNHA are integrated into the process of prioritization of health needs and the development of a health system implementation plan. The assessment shows that access to care is a major community concern in all three counties. For instance, some residents are less likely to have health care coverage and more likely to report having trouble finding a general doctor and specialist. Higher prevalence rates of specific chronic diseases are also found throughout the Tri County region. This is demonstrated by the Burlington County results documenting a higher percentage of obesity among adults than the New Jersey average and in Gloucester County, the percentage of adults with diabetes is higher than the state averages.
Based on community needs, two areas have been identified as critical community needs and are addressed in this implementation plan: access to health care and chronic conditions.
Access to care
- Cost barriers
- Navigating the healthcare system
The implementation plan development
- Heart Disease
The development of action plans to address the identified CHNA priorities in Virtua’s service area was the charge of the Senior Vice President for Post- Acute and Community Based Services, the Senior Vice President for Clinical Integration, and the Director of Community outreach. An internal audit of current community services for all members of the community was conducted by this cohort in an effort to coordinate the current services and develop coordinated plans necessary to address the identified needs.
A comprehensive review of the data collected from the CHNA was presented to the Virtua Board of Trustees along with recommendations for a plan to address the identified health disparities. This assessment was adopted by The Virtua Board of Trustees at the annual board retreat, in September 2013. A targeted action plan is now completed, approved by the Virtua Board of Trustees and ready for implementation system wide.
During the CHNA process a Tri County Collaborative was formed with local health systems and health departments to share ideas, costs, and reinforce community efforts that can be best completed with a united strategy. The Tri County Collaborative consists of the following members: Burlington, Camden, and Gloucester County Departments of Health, Cooper University Health System, Our Lady of Lourdes health System, Kennedy Health System, and Virtua. Many of the identified community health needs are pervasive across all the surrounding counties that our fellow health systems serve and a decision was made to join efforts to yield greater outcomes.
Two areas of disparities that will be worked on collaboratively are the mental health and substance abuse needs and the access to health insurance. In the health insurance initiative each heath system will work to educate the community and provide resources to assist in the management and access to the Health Insurance Exchange. In the mental health initiative, the Tri County Collaborative will formulate a reference and resource guide for practitioners and the public on the accessibility and availability of mental health services in the region.