Online Program

Community Health Workers (CHWs) Make Cents: A Return on Investment Analysis

Wednesday, November 4, 2015 : 11:10 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Ashley Martin, MPH, MHP Salud, Bradenton, FL
Colleen Reinert, MPH, MHP Salud, Bradenton, FL
Brad Klos, MSPH, MHP Salud, Pasco, WA
BACKGROUND: Despite a growing presence of CHW programs in recent years as a cost effective, preventative health measure, full financial and health impacts are inadequately documented.  CHW roles continue to diversify, and now include outreach and referral-based CHWs, case managers, and health insurance marketplace navigators to name a few.  A small number of studies have formally evaluated the long-term economic return from this these types of programs.  One method is to perform a Return on Investment (ROI) analysis, which estimates the cost return for every dollar invested.

METHODS: Participating Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) of various sizes will share data on their CHW program finances and health outcomes.  Financial data shared will include CHW wages, training, supervision, evaluation, materials, transportation, and other relevant expenses.  Outcome data will include numbers of referrals, appoints kept, new diagnoses and patients linked to treatment, clinical measures (i.e. BMI, BP, HbA1c, etc.), and individuals successfully enrolled in to health insurance, varying by program.  Healthcare savings associated with these outcomes will be estimated using current literature.

RESULTS: We will present ROI results for participating clinics and share best practice recommendations for application in similar programs around the country. 

CONCLUSIONS: An ROI analysis will be used to evaluate existing programs, determine sustainability of continued program investment, and help to compare the efficacy of different CHW models.

Learning Areas:

Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning

Learning Objectives:
Demonstrate the efficacy of CHW programs by comparing the total healthcare cost savings with total financial investment. Discuss the impact of program size, setting, design and duration on ROI outcome. Identify a replicable methodology that can be used to help CHW programs collect the necessary data to calculate a valid ROI specific to their program.

Keyword(s): Community Health Workers and Promoters, Sustainability

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have an MSPH degree in Epidemiology and Environmental Health. My previous work experience includes working as a research assistant with the CDC on multiple projects, and serving in the Peace Corps on various health related projects addressing rural farm-worker health. I have worked as the research, evaluation, and technology lead for MHP Salud for the past year, and have been the lead investigator for this pilot project.
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.