NORFOLK, Va. — Community violence and crime are the top public health concerns for a majority of Virginians, according to a recent poll commissioned by the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association (VHHA).
51% of Virginia voters cited community violence and crime as the top public health concern for their families. The health care workforce shortage, which has been magnified as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, was the second most common concern at 25%.
Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy conducted the survey to help VHHA identify health care issues that art important to Virginians and to steer the association's approach to engaging with public policy. The group spoke with 800 registered voters in Virginia between June 23 and 30.
The survey also included other questions related to satisfaction with hospitals and health insurance companies, COVID-19 vaccines and safety precautions, public health considerations and more.
Most Virginians have positive views of hospitals
The poll found that 75% of Virginians view Virginia hospitals favorably, and 83% who have had a personal or family encounter with hospital care in the past year said their experience was positive.
Two years past the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, during which some people delayed necessary medical care, 93% of Virginians now feel safe going to a doctor’s office or hospital for health care services.
Virginians split on insurance companies, varied on health care costs
Virginians are generally split in their view of health insurance companies with 48% having a negative view of health insurance companies compared to 44% who view them favorably.
When asked for views on what’s driving health care costs, Virginians cited health insurance costs (29%), pharmaceutical companies (26%) and general inflation (15%) as the most significant factors.
Most Virginians vaccinated against COVID-19, split on precautions
90% of Virginians polled said they've been vaccinated against COVID-19, with 80% indicating they have gotten at least one booster dose.
Those findings are in line with Virginia Department of Health data that shows 92.6% of the 18 and older adult population has gotten at least one vaccine dose, with 81% of adults fully vaccinated.
Attitudes toward continuing COVID-19 safety precautions are split with 39% saying they still wear masks in crowded indoor spaces, while 38% said they don’t take any precautions. Another 15% said they still avoid large crowds and gatherings, and 8% said they still wear a mask on airplanes.
Federal regulations require health care providers such as hospitals to continue to enforce indoor mask rules in those facilities. When asked about this, 69% said they understand why masks are still required under the circumstances and accept that.