Behavioral Health Services a Top Critical Service Gap

The community health needs assessments (CHNA) provide information that can subsequently be used to target and solve a community’s health needs and common health care issues. The Virginia Health Care Foundation (VHCF) and VHHA recently collaborated to analyze the most recent CHNAs by hospitals, health systems, and health districts. The co-sponsored study found that critical service gaps are among the challenges Virginia’s communities face. These gaps occur as a result of a lack of critical health services and health care professionals in a given health district. After identifying behavioral health as one of the most common concerns (see Jan. 8, 2016 Research Corner item), it comes as no surprise that behavioral health services are reported as the top critical service gap, as Figure 1 illustrates. Sixty-two out of 73 CHNAs (nearly 85 percent) listed behavioral health services as a challenge. As shown in Figure 2, the distribution of health districts reporting behavioral health services as a top concern is not uniform across the state. Based on the heat map in Figure 3, it appears that the areas most concerned about behavioral health services are the Chickahominy and Three Rivers CHNAs. (1/15)