Disparities across racial and socioeconomic lines in the utilization of health care services and in patient outcomes continue to plague healthcare systems in the U.S. Policies to address health care disparities have varied, including steps to increase access to health insurance coverage at both the state and federal levels, policies aimed at increasing the diversity and numbers of primary care practitioners, and a multiplicity of programs aimed at coordinating care across settings and provider types, including disease management, case management, and multi-disciplinary clinics. One health care role that has gained increasing attention in recent years is that of the community health worker (CHW).
The Council’s recommendations address a broad range of considerations important to deploying CHWs, including the integration of CHWs into the health care team, standards for certification and training, and strategies for CHW recruitment, evaluation, and funding. In addition, CEPAC voted on which aspects of CHW programs are most associated with improved patient health outcomes. CEPAC based its votes and recommendations on the published evidence, findings from interviews with expert stakeholders, new survey results benchmarking the use of CHWs in New England, and public testimony.
Date of review: June 2013
Intervention of interest:
Community health workers
Below you will find the final documents from the assessment review process:
“CEPAC’s goal remains providing evidence-based, actionable information to key decision makers in the healthcare system. The final meeting report highlights some of the paths forward for implementation of CHWs based on what the best available evidence and expert experience suggests as best practice. This meeting marked the first time that CEPAC broadened the scope of its work to address a delivery system intervention. Expanding the focus of its meetings to include non-clinical intervention topics will only improve upon CEPAC’s ability to tackle the questions most important for healthcare decision makers, and provide new solutions for how evidence can be moved into action.”