Within Prince William Health District, there are significant disparities in health amongst people of different races, ethnicities, and incomes. These differences can be partially attributed to social determinants of health, which, according to the World Health Organization, are the conditions in which people are born, grow, work, live, and age.
Although Prince William County has a number of health resources, accessing health services proves challenging for some county residents. There is one primary care physician for every 2,350 residents of Prince William County. These resources are not evenly spread, however. According to HRSA, Manassas City, Manassas Park City, and southeast Prince William County between Dumfries, Montclair, Dale City, and Woodbridge, are all designated medically underserved areas, meaning they contain fewer than one primary care physician for every 3,500 residents. Three hospitals serve the region: two within the Novant Health UVA system, and Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center.
In addition to location, cost may be a barrier for the 15.7% residents under the age of 65 who are uninsured. Prince William County has the lowest uninsured rate in the health district, at 15%; however, this rate is higher than Virginia’s rate of 14%, and higher than the uninsured rates in surrounding Loudoun and Fairfax counties (9% and 12%, respectively). Manassas City and Manassas Park City contain the second and seventh highest uninsured rates in the state, at 20% and 23%, respectively. Those without insurance or resources to pay for care rely on safety net clinics for primary health care services. There is one Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), the Greater Prince William Community Health Center, with multiple locations serving Prince William County and the surrounding area. There is also one free clinic, the Prince William Area Free Clinic, that serves uninsured residents of Prince William, Manassas, and Manassas Park. Several local clinics provide services to underserved communities: The George Mason School of Nursing’s Mason and Partners (MAP) Interprofessional Clinic, the Pediatric Primary Care Project, Sentara’s Potomac Hospital Family Health Connection mobile clinic, and Inova Juniper’s HIV/AIDs clinics. The Prince William Health District provides pregnancy testing, prenatal care, and women’s health services, immunizations and tuberculosis testing, and services for detecting and treating sexually transmitted infections to some residents.
Although Prince William Health District is generally healthy, inequities amongst its residents exist. Making the district a healthier place for all to live requires not only improving upon wellness initiatives and access to quality healthcare, but addressing needs pertaining to the economic and social well-being of its citizens.