Welcome to the Employers, Providers & Supervisors Page
This page will provide:
Information and resources in two areas to assist providers in making the case to hire CHWs and in integrating community health workers in their organization’s health care teams:
- Training resources on integrating community health workers in the health care team
- Articles on return on investment for utilizing community health workers
Many providers recognize the need to address the social needs of patients to improve health. According to the 2011 report “Health Care’s Blind Side,” 4 out of 5 physicians said socio-economic needs are as important to address as medical needs. Yet when asked, many are not sure how to address these needs with their patients. Community Health Workers (CHWs), a key resource in addressing the social needs of patients, have not traditionally been included in most health care delivery systems. As a result, physician response to integrating CHWs on health care teams varies based on physician knowledge of this workforce. In addition, other members of the health care team, nurses, social workers, and case managers sometimes feel CHWs overlap with their roles. The training resources in this section will assist providers in understanding the roles of community health workers and how to integrate this new workforce into health care teams.
Provider training helps organizations understand the roles of CHWs and increases acceptance among staff of this new role. Two types of training are emerging as best practices for increasing utilization of community health workers:
- Supervisor training focuses on helping a supervisor think about the day to day integration of the CHW including the CHWs role on the team, the duties of the CHW, how staff makes referrals to the CHW, where the CHW see’s patients, how the CHW documents their work, and evaluation of the CHW’s work.
- Provider education are training programs and public education campaigns that increase awareness among health organizations about the roles and efficacy of CHWs.
Making the case to hire CHW’s can be strengthened by proving evidence of their return on investment and their efficacy in addressing the social determinants of health among at risk populations (specifically, low income, racial, ethnic, and rural populations). There are many studies that link community health workers to improved health outcomes and lower health care cost for the above populations.
- CHWs have been shown to be effective in increasing knowledge and promoting behavior change 1;
- CHW interventions have been shown to improve utilization patterns 2; and
- CHW care management has produced significant reductions in:
- Emergency room visits
- Hospital admissions
- Total patient cost 3