Online Program

Rethinking local health department (LHD) roles in the safety net under health care reform: The central role of community health workers (CHWs)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 2:30 p.m. - 2:50 p.m.

Carl H. Rush, MRP, UT School of Public Health, Institute for Health Policy, San Antonio, TX
James Krieger, MD, MPH, Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention, Public Health - Seattle and King County, Seattle, WA
June Robinson, MPH, Chronic Disease & Injury Prevention Section, Public Health – Seattle & King County, Seattle, WA
Theresa Mason, Ph.D., Office of Community Health Workers, Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Boston, MA
Public Health – Seattle & King County's (PHSKC) vision of Equity and Social Justice has provided the foundational elements for the birth of a strong and vibrant work force of CHWs. PHSKC employs CHWs with varied skill sets in diverse roles locations throughout King County, including outreach workers, patient navigators, chronic disease self-management support coaches, maternity support providers, TB DOT workers and more. Throughout the history of CHW work in the department, public health staff and academic partners have conducted rigorous research to assess the effectiveness of CHWs, leading to development of best practices for CHW programs. The Department has a deep commitment to deploying CHWs to address health inequities and integrating their work with emerging approaches such as reaching the Triple Aim, implementing the client-centered Health Home, using electronic health records, evolving mobile information technologies, enhancing self-management support for people with chronic diseases, and using policy/systems/environment change to promote healthy environments. PHSKC is also highly interested in securing sustainable funding for CHWs, as much of current funding is grant-based and inadequate to the needs. This presentation will describe recent research conducted in support of a comprehensive CHW workforce plan for PHSKC, including integration with local health care reform planning, investigation of CHW employment practices in other LHDs around the country, and organization of local and statewide processes to develop CHW scope of practice and skills standards for CHWs.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Chronic disease management and prevention
Program planning
Provision of health care to the public
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines

Learning Objectives:
Describe roles of CHWs in emerging models of care delivery Design innovative relationships between local health departments and safety-net providers involving CHWs Explain logic of potential cost savings resulting from CHW involvement in prevention and care coordination for vulnerable populations

Keyword(s): Access and Services, Chronic Diseases

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was lead researcher in the study being reported. I have served as consultant or researcher on a number of other policy studies on CHWs, and was a lead author of the 2007 CHW National Workforce Study for HRSA Bureau of Health Professions.
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.