173472 Community Health Workers; The Link to Continuing Care

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Anne Willaert, BS, MS, LSW , Healthcare Education Industry Partnership, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, Mankato, MN
Research has shown the Community Health Workers are extremely effective in access and health disparities, and CHWs are becoming recognized for the work they have done for many years. Their outcomes demonstrate their effectiveness not only in the communities they work, but for the organizations they are working for.

A state that has been successful in developing and implementing a CHW program and has received federal approval to reimburse CHWs through Medicaid reimbursement is Minnesota. The Minnesota Community Health Worker Project is a statewide initiative whose mission is to reduce cultural and linguistic barriers to healthcare, improve quality and cost effectiveness of care, and increase the number of healthcare workers who come from diverse backgrounds or underserved communities. This project, a coalition of educators, health care industry, healthcare payers, public and private organization and CHWs are committed to improving the system of delivering healthcare services. In three years they were able to establish a successful system which;

Developed a standardized curriculum to educate CHWs in Minnesota;

Developed professional standards for CHWs that define their role in the health care delivery system;

Created a sustainable employment market, incorporating CHWs into the healthcare workforce;

Demonstrated that trained CHWs are effective and that a CHWs time with a patient is a billable/reimbursable valued service

Successfully advocated for passage of new Minnesota Legislation mandating Medicaid reimbursement for Community Health Workers.

Received federal approval for the CHW state plan amendment adding CHW coverage which will begin in February 2008.

Learning Objectives:
1. Participants will fully understand the process Minnesota took in their curriculum development which established standards and a scope of practice for CHWs in Minnesota. 2. Participants will understand how the competency standards supported the policy needed to develop a sustainable workforce model in Minnesota. 3. Participants will learn the process Minnesota took to pass legislation for Medicaid reimbursement for CHWs. 4. Participants will understand how this model can be replicated in other states.

Keywords: Policy/Policy Development, Public Health Infrastructure

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have spoken many times before at APHA, I am a program planner for APHA and I am the director of the program I am speaking about.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.