How CHWs Help Providers and Community-Based Organizations
- Are you finding that your patients are unclear about their benefits, how to stay enrolled and how to access care?
- CHWs educate community members about their benefits, how and when to renew and how to navigate the complicated health care system. They take a holistic approach to their work and provide information and referral to address a wilder array of needs, some which may get in the way of their care if not addressed.
- Are you concerned about the use of childhood preventive services such as immunization and well child checks, especially among underserved, low income or foreign-born families?
- As trusted members of the communities they serve, CHWs work with parents to help them understand the value and importance of childhood preventive care, learn how to access services and follow schedules for immunizations, tests and screenings. They address barriers related to culture and language.
- Are you noticing differential rates of screenings among your patient population leading to later detection and reduced survival rates?
- CHWs have been found to be successful in increasing rates of cancer screenings among low income populations and communities of color.
- Are you working on ways to reduce avoidable hospital readmissions?
- Are you concerned about missed appointments?
- CHWs reduce the no-show rate which can translate into thousands of dollars saved.
- Are you finding that medication non-compliance is a recurrent problem?
- In-home patient education by CHWs can help decrease medication errors, especially when there are communication barriers related to literacy and language ability among foreign-born, deaf and/or low income patients. CHWs can also find out if patients are using traditional medicines or engaged in polypharmacy, go over side effects, and reinforce the need to complete the entire course of medication.
- Is your health care home committed to continuous improvement in goal setting and patient activation, among especially with underserved, low income or communities of color?
- CHWs can improve communication, coordination and the team’s cultural competence. They can improve patient satisfaction as well as improve family and caregiver support. For example, with specialized health coaching training provided under the CMS Community Transformation Grant, CHWs and other health care home team members at Hennepin County Medical Center are now equipped with skills to work more effectively on disease self-management and behavior change for better health and quality of life.
Spotlight: Health Care Home
Across the country, clinics are transforming their primary care practices to become “patient-centered medical homes.” In our state, they are known as “health care homes” and four health providers integrate community health workers into their health care home programs including Essentia in Ely; Hennepin County Medical Center, multiple locations in Minneapolis and adjacent suburbs; HealthEast in multiple clinic locations in St. Paul and adjacent communities; and NorthPoint, a federally-qualified health center located in Minneapolis.
Click here to learn more about HealthEast’s Health Care Home model.