HEAL Program Frequently Asked Questions

HEAL is a program sponsored by Optima Health aimed at addressing low health literacy throughout Virginia. The HEAL program offers classes, taught by Optima Health instructors, teaching participants how to understand nutrition facts on labels, how to fill out medical forms, and other health related topics. 

  • What is HEAL?

    Optima Health has partnered with Literacy for Life, through the College of William & Mary, to address low health literacy throughout Virginia. The HEAL programs offers health education classes, taught by certified Optima Health instructors. During these classes, you will engage in hands-on learning, exploring topics like:

      • learning to compare nutrition facts on labels
      • how to read and understand a prescription bottle
      • when to use urgent care instead of the emergency room
      • how to fill out medical forms
      • how to describe symptoms to a doctor

    The HEAL Program addresses the problem of low health literacy with a two-pronged approach:

      • Empowering patients to take control of their own health.
      • Teaching medical professionals to communicate more respectfully and effectively with low-literate patients.
  • When did the HEAL program begin?

    The HEAL program launched on October 7, 2019, statewide in Virginia, in each of the Department of Medical Services (DMAS) regions. The program has the potential to reach far more than just Optima Health Medicaid members, as many program participants will share the information they have learn with colleagues, friends, family, and the community at-large.

  • Who is eligible to participate?

    All Virginians and Optima Health Medicaid members are eligible to participate.

  • How does the HEAL program work?

    • There are eight, 90-minute classes in a session. Classes meet every Monday. Attendance to all eight classes is not required.
    • Registration is preferred. Call 1-866-706-6708 or email COMM_OUTREACH@sentara.com to sign up.
  • Where will the classes be held?

    The following locations will host the HEAL Program every Monday for eight weeks, starting October 7, 2019:

    • Eastern Shore Community College, 29300 Lankford Highway, Room 206, Melfa; 6-7:30 p.m.
    • Lambert Point’s Community Center, 1251 W. 42nd Street, Norfolk; 6:30-8 p.m.
    • South Morrison Family Education Center, 746 Adams Drive, Newport News; 11 a.m.- 12:30 p.m.
    • Petersburg Library, 201 W. Washington Street, Petersburg; 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
    • Mount Olive Baptist Church, 13111 Minnieville Road, Woodbridge; 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
    • Literacy Volunteers of America, 233 4th Street NW, Charlottesville; 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.
    • Rescue Mission of Roanoke, 402 4th Street SE, Roanoke; 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
  • Is there a cost to participate in the HEAL program?

    No, there is no cost to participate. The classes are offered free of charge.

  • Does Optima Health provide transportation to HEAL locations?

    Optima Health does not provide transportation to HEAL locations. However, HEAL locations are within local transit lines.

  • Does a member need to bring anything to these classes?

    All necessary materials will be provided in class. HEAL participants do not need to bring any materials such as pens, pencils, or paper.