Community health workers (CHWs) are frontline public health workers that serve as an intermediary between health/social services and the communities they serve. Health centers have long utilized CHWs to address social determinants of health, facilitate access to services, and improve the quality and cultural competence of service delivery. CHWs - and other enabling services staff - play an increasingly important role as health centers redefine how they provide and coordinate care, serve as patient-centered medical homes, and manage population health in a value-based payment model.
This session will highlight models for utilizing CHWs in community health centers. Presenters will report on the findings of a recent comprehensive study on CHWs in health centers in the Pacific Northwest region. They'll also discuss the rationale for engaging CHWs; the range of current roles, titles, core competencies, and skills; and the varied work focus for CHWs. An overview will be provided of (1) health centers in Michigan that have successfully cross-trained various staff members as CHWs in order to provide a wide range of enabling services and (2) state payment mechanisms created to help finance the employment of CHWs and their activities.
- Describe the range of CHW roles and core competencies.
- Highlight ways in which CHWs can be utilized to advance patient- and community-centered models of care.
- Discuss the financial sustainability of CHWs.
Community Health Improvement Program Manager,
Northwest Regional Primary Care Association
Director, Health Center Performance and Innovation, National Association of Community Health Centers,
Health Center Growth & Development,