250355 Special Invited Session: Integrating CHWs into Emerging Models of Care

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 2:30 PM

Gail Hirsch, MEd , Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Boston, MA
In this special invited session, two national leaders in public health will address opportunities and strategies for integrating community health workers into emerging models of care under health reform. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act creates the foundation for strengthening the health care workforce to meet the needs of many more Americans in the years to come, through provisions which both increase the numbers of well-trained providers and also support the development of multidisciplinary care teams to address the major health problems we face. Community health workers are essential to the success of health reform. In the 2010 health reform law, community health workers were included as health professionals to be included in efforts to reduce health disparities. As health insurance becomes available to more Americans and primary care itself becomes remodeled to address issues of both quality and cost, CHWs have a critical role to play in ensuring access to care, and ultimately contributing to improved health outcomes.

Two national experts will address some of the challenges of integrating community health workers into health care teams, which include inconsistent and misunderstood roles and competencies, insufficient training opportunities, lack of occupational regulation, and inadequate and sustainable financing. Across the country there are efforts underway to meet these challenges while at the same time preserving the valuable and critical nature of the connections community health workers have with the communities they serve.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Chronic disease management and prevention
Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Participants will be able to: 1) Identify opportunities for and challenges of integrating CHWs into emerging models of health care in health reform. 2) Describe effective approaches for incorporating CHWs into primary care teams. 3) Discuss strategies for sustaining CHW services and training in new organizational and payment models.

Keywords: Community Health, Health Reform

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I oversee community health worker policy in Massachusetts.
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.