Currently in Massachusetts, CHW services are most often funded for limited periods of time as part of grants that address specific chronic conditions or preventive health measures. Therefore, a reoccurring hindrance to the creation of permanent CHW positions at many community health centers and other organizations is the lack of consistent, dependable funding. Despite these challenges, there are multiple efforts throughout the nation, including in Massachusetts, to ensure that CHWs become permanent, sustainable members of the public health and healthcare workforce. These efforts include expanding and evaluating the evidence base supporting CHW contributions to prevention and healthcare services in terms of positive health outcomes and containment of costs. Additionally, CHWs and those who understand their value are educating health payers and providers about the workforce, the roles they play, the benefits they bring and how to integrate them into healthcare and other multidisciplinary teams. Some of these efforts are listed below.
- Achieving the Triple Aim: Success with Community Health Workers
- New England Comparative Effectiveness Public Advisory Council (CEPAC)
- “Return on Investment from Employment of Community Health Workers,” Journal of Ambulatory Care Management
- “Community Health Workers — A Local Solution to a Global Problem,” The New England Journal of Medicine
- CMS Webinar, “Medicaid Preventive Services: Regulatory Change,” April 2014
- “Medicaid Funding of Community-Based Prevention: Myths, State Successes Overcoming Barriers and the Promise of Integrated Payment,” Nemours and Trust for America’s Health
- Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO)
Promising Practices for Engaging and Integrating CHWs
Employers who are inexperienced employing or working with community health workers in healthcare or other settings can benefit from a variety of resources that provide guidance and promising practices.
- “The Evolution, Expansion, and Effectiveness of Community Health Workers,” Urban Institute
- “Promising Approaches to Integrating Community Health Workers into Health Systems: Four Case Studies”
- “The Creative Team — Community Health Workers,” Maine Quality Counts Video
- “Best Practice Guidelines for Implementing and Evaluating Community Health Worker Programs in Health Care Settings,” Sinai Urban Health Institute
- “Program Uses ‘Pathways’ to Confirm Those At-Risk Connect to Community Based Health and Social Services, Leading to Improved Outcomes,” Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
- “Community Health Workers: Discussion Paper,” Consumer Health Foundation