Online Program

Impact of Community Health Workers (CHW) in the Primary Health Care Setting

Wednesday, November 4, 2015 : 8:42 a.m. - 8:54 a.m.

Samantha Sabo, DrPH, MPH, Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ

Maia Ingram, MPH, Deputy Director, Arizona Prevention Research Center, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ

Jill de Zapien, BA, Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
Heather Dreifuss, MAT, MPH, Health Promotion Sciences, Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
Yanitza Soto, BS, Arizona Department of Health Services Bureau of Tobacco & Chronic Disease, Phoenix, AZ
Anna Alonzo, Chronic Disease Programs, Bureau of Tobacco and Chronic Disease Arizona Department of Health Services, Phoenix, AZ
Scott Carvajal, PhD, MPH, Health Behavior Health Promotion, Division of Health Promotion Sciences, University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, Tucson, AZ
Floribella Redondo, BS, Arizona Community Health Outreach Worker Network, Phoenix, AZ
Alfred Yazzie, Black Hills Center for american Indian Health, Winslow, AZ
Since the 1960s, Community Health Workers (CHWs) have been characterized as community leaders who share the language, socioeconomic status and life experiences of the community members they serve and are recognized as a promising strategy to address glaring health inequities. Testimony the CHW effectiveness is their inclusion in the Affordable Care Act as distinct members of the health care team and the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare services recent guidance that allows for reimbursement of preventive services offered by unlicensed professionals such as CHWs. Objective: In response to such historical shifts in healthcare policy, and in partnership with local and state health departments and CHW professional associations, the Arizona Prevention Research Center (AzPRC) aimed to characterize the CHW workforce and assess the attitudes, barriers and impact of the utilization of CHWs among primary care providers and health plans. Methods: A series of quantitative and qualitative surveys and interviews engaged a large national sample of CHWs (N=1600) and a local sample of primary health care providers and health plans (N=150). Results: Approximately 28% (439) of CHWs surveyed nationally work in a clinical setting. Locally, health care providers reported CHW impact on the quality of care for high cost and high-risk patients, including improved access to care and health outcomes. CHWs improved provider efficiency through health systems navigation, health education and social support. Conclusions: CHWs are an effective member of the primary health care team and improve access to care and management of chronic conditions among high-risk high cost populations.

Learning Areas:

Provision of health care to the public
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Describe the impact of community health workers in the primary care setting and the recent shift in health policies that support CHW integration into the health car team.

Keyword(s): Health Care Delivery, Community Health Workers and Promoters

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the lead investigator for the research being presented.
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.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Not Answered