The Minnesota CHW Alliance utilities various committees to assist in growing and making meaningful, sustainable changes for the field in Minnesota.
The Legislative Action Committee is one of three subcommittees of the CHW Alliance that meets biweekly every other Tuesday.
Since fall, the legislative committee has grown. Committee members span across various professions, and each with their own connection to the CHW field. All the members are committed to this work because they want to see the CHW field grow and be recognized as a health equity workforce. Over the past several months, members have worked to outline key legislative and policy initiatives that address significant barriers to the CHW field:
- Create a comprehensive definition of CHWs
- Define care coordination in relation to CHW services
- Eliminate the maximum cap on the # of hours CHWs can bill for
- Advocate for greater integration of CHWs into existing health team models (e.g., behavioral health homes, Mental Health crisis services, family home visiting programs)
- Supporting CHW Certificate scholarships for underrepresented communities including BIPOC, deaf and blind individuals, immigrants, and refugees and rural residents
The committee has held meetings with several local leaders to advocate for the CHW role. Most recently, the committee met with Diane Thorson, the former Director of Public Health for Ottertail County. Diane wrote a bill pertinent to CHWs that has been introduced by Representative Franson and Senator Ingebrigsten. The original bill is designed to define care coordination to include access to dental care and it acknowledges CHWs role in addressing social determinants of health. Members are collaborating with Diane to amend and expand the bill’s language. In the coming weeks we will be reaching out to ask CHWs to contact their legislators to advocate for the bill. Please stay tuned!
Co-Authored by Kathleen Call and Shandy Potes Mangra