State Policymakers Seeking to Address Health Workforce Issues


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Denver—Now more than ever, the health care industry and access to proper health care is overextended. This is especially true in rural areas, where hospital closures further threaten communities’ health services. A new report by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) provides strategies policymakers have pursued to improve access to care.

One of those strategies that has recently gained a lot of attention is community health workers (CHW). CHWs address health workforce shortages and improve access to care in underserved areas.

CHW services often include:

  • Creating connections between vulnerable populations and health care systems.
  • Providing health education on topics related to chronic disease prevention, physical activity and nutrition.
  • Performing health screenings, informal counseling and referrals.
  • Facilitating health care and social service system navigation.

The report also discusses community paramedicine, peer support specialists, training and certification as well as financing options.

Read the "Meeting Health Care Needs with an Emerging Workforce” report.

NCSL is a bipartisan organization that serves the legislators and staffs of the states, commonwealths and territories. It provides research, technical assistance and opportunities for policymakers to exchange ideas on the most pressing state issues and is an effective and respected advocate for the interests of the states in the American federal system.