Incorporating Community Health Workers into State Health Care Systems: Options for Policymakers

9/2/2015

Holding hands photoWith an increased focus on improving health care quality, bettering health outcomes and reducing costs, many state policymakers are examining the potential role of community health workers (CHWs) in health care systems.

CHWs are often members of the communities they serve, and provide a variety of services by partnering with health care payers and providers to help individuals navigate a complex health care system, receive preventive care, manage chronic illnesses, maintain healthy lifestyles and assist people in receiving the care they need in culturally and linguistically relevant ways. CHWs are found in numerous setting throughout the United States and have continuously worked to more effectively reach underserved communities.

This brief describes the role of community health workers, highlights recent state actions, and presents various policy options. 

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