240151 Collaborating with community health workers to improve health of a high-risk population

Monday, October 31, 2011

A. Kate Clark, RN, BSN , Department of Nursing, Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg, VA
Ann G. Hershberger, PhD, RN , Department of Nursing, Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg, VA
Pamela A. Kulbok, DNSc, RN, PHCNS-BC, FAAN , School of Nursing, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
Background: In the wake of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), there is increased pressure on the healthcare system. A continued nursing and primary care provider shortage aggravates access to care issues. A Community Health Worker (CHW) initiative, which began in January 2011, is an innovative solution to these pressing issues. This evolving program utilizes not only the skills of advanced public health nurses (APHNs) but also builds on innate strengths of lay community leaders to positively influence the health of their communities and vulnerable populations. Description: With private funding and guidance of a steering committee of local PHNs, the mission of this program is to improve health and health literacy of high-risk patients of a rural community health center in Virginia. The program utilizes one-on-one health promotion to high-risk families by CHWs trained and supervised by an APHN. The health center is a federally funded clinic that provides care to underserved populations. As an organization that serves insured, Medicaid/Medicare, and currently uninsured populations, the health center is the perfect location for this initiative. Lessons Learned: Although in formative development, this CHW program empowers caring individuals to give back to their community through lay health promoter work. Dominant areas that require intentional decision-making and actions include selective recruitment of CHWs, and staff and provider “buy-in.” Recommendations: In the current regulatory environment and context of the ACA, greater emphasis should be placed on population-focused providers, such as APHNs, in collaboration with CHWs, to coordinate care and meet the needs of high-risk families.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related nursing

Learning Objectives:
Demonstrate a deeper knowledge of the role of Community Health Workers in primary and preventative care Describe the valuable contribution Community Health Workers provide to the healthcare team Discuss the role Community Health Worker programs play in improving access issues for high risk patients in the post-Affordable Care Act healthcare system

Keywords: Community Health Promoters, Health Promotion

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I supervise and coordinate a community health worker program through a community health center to promote health within a high-risk patient population
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.