How healthy is Grayson County? Survey seeks answers

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Community input needed to improve local healthcare

By Shaina Stockton

INDEPENDENCE — Grayson County’s Community Health Assessment survey is currently underway, seeking input from members of the community about the area’s healthcare needs.

The survey is available online at vdh.virginia.gov/mount-rogers/ and at the county health department, county office and local schools. Grayson leaders encourage everyone in the county to take the survey, to help them identify healthcare resources, barriers and priorities.

The assessment was opened to the public following a kickoff meeting between local leaders and healthcare professionals earlier this summer. The group spent about two hours determining some of the problems that are currently facing citizens of Grayson and surrounding counties.

During the meeting, participants were asked to pinpoint trouble areas; the top five of which were determined to be transportation, food access, substance abuse, obesity and health care.

Participants included Grayson County Administrator Bill Shepley and Deputy County Administrator Mitch Smith, Sheriff Richard Vaughan and Troutdale Mayor Bill Mitchell; as well as representatives from Twin County Regional and Alleghany Memorial hospitals, the county school system and social services department; Mount Rogers Planning District Commission, Mount Rogers Health District and other groups.

Dr. Karen Shelton, district director, and Breanne Forbes-Hubbard, population health coordinator, for the Mount Rogers Health District, conducted the meeting.

The Mount Rogers Health District is circulating the community assessment survey in Grayson County, and Shelton and others have stressed the importance for citizens to complete the survey to provide more information.

The survey is free for participants. Names are not required; but participants will need to enter their zip code to determine their eligibility to be included in the survey. Citizens from Galax are asked to type or write “24333 - Grayson” so their answers are not disregarded.

The assessment’s results will play a key role in an ongoing initiative to bring a Federally Qualified Healthcare Center (FQHC) to the area for Grayson County citizens. A high participation level will help the county’s chances of succeeding in this goal.

Results from the survey must be submitted by the end of August.

• To participate in the survey, visit vdh.virginia.gov/mount-rogers/.