What is the Value of Community Health Workers in Primary Care?
With over 50,000 Community Health Workers nationwide1, many organizations, including Primary Care Associations, are looking to CHWs to help effectively meet the health needs of the communities they serve. Support for CHW programs has grown significantly with the creation of 67 CHW Associations and 19 state certification programs just in the last decade.2
Proven Positive Return on Investment
CHW programs have been proven to be cost-effective. They allow for health care organizations to utilize their resources more efficiently and reduce the use of unnecessary medical services.
- Individualized Management for Patient-Centered Targets (IMPaCT), a CHW intervention in Pennsylvania that addressed socioeconomic and behavioral barriers to health in low-income populations, found that every dollar invested would return $2.47 to an average Medicaid payer within the fiscal year.3
- Cada Paso del Camino, a cancer screening and education program, showed a ROI of $3.09 for every $1 spent.4
- MHP Salud’s Colonia Outreach Program which provided outreach, information, eligibility pre-screening, and enrollment assistance for public programs demonstrated significant ROI, with a rate of return of $2.19 for every $1.00 spent.5
MHP Salud’s Colonia Outreach Program which provided outreach, information, eligibility pre-screening, and enrollment assistance for public programs demonstrated significant ROI, with a rate of return of $2.19 for every $1.00 spent.5
Improved Quality of Care and Health Outcomes
As members of the community they serve, CHWs are familiar with many of the social determinants of health in their community that affect health and well-being. By including CHWs as a member of an individual’s care team, primary care is comprehensive, coordinated and patient-centered.
- A program for pediatric asthma patients in Boston showed that over the course of a year, emergency department visits related to asthma were reduced by 68% and hospitalizations decreased by 84.8%.6,7
- Data from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania has found that Community Health Workers can reduce hospitalizations by 65%, helping organizations deliver on value-based care principles.8
- Vivir una Vida Plena, a CHW-led program for individuals at risk for chronic diabetic kidney disease, doubled the amount of time individuals spent being physically active and demonstrated other positive health behaviors including 51.4% increase in daily vegetable consumption, 69.4% decrease in sodium consumption, and 13.5% decrease in saturated fat.
This report analyzes and compares 2020 USDS data with a smaller assessment conducted with Health Centers that employ Community Health Workers (CHWs).
Support and Training
MHP Salud has been implementing Community Health Worker programs for over 35 years and uses this experience to provide training to other CHWs at other organizations and support services to organizations with CHW programs. MHP Salud can help you by providing:
- Training for CHWs to CHW supervisors and managers, as well as other professionals working with CHWs including nurses, social workers, medical assistants, physicians, and outreach workers to familiarize them with the CHW profession and benefits of having them on their team
- Expert hours-based or outcomes-based consulting support, CHW program design and implementation services to help you develop practices for hiring and training, and establishing sustainable programming
- Comprehensive resources to aid integration of CHWs into Care Teams in order to expand your teams capabilities and guide in culturally appropriate care delivery and outreach
Do you serve organizations that could benefit from a CHW program?
Organizations you serve can utilize MHP Salud’s L.E.A.D. Curriculum, which was designed to address the professional development needs of CHWs throughout their career and support programs working with CHWs by providing real-world examples, information, and strategies that have been developed and tested to improve your program efforts.
We have also developed an extensive resource portfolio with over 100 downloadable items on topics such as chronic disease, mental health, social determinants of health, aging, and developmental resources for CHW programs. The resources are available for free with registration to our site here.
- Colonia Outreach Program
- Massachusetts Department of Public Health, 2015
- Institute for Clinical and Economic Review, 2013