Opportunities for Community Health Worker Training to Improve Access to Health Care for Medicaid Enrollees

Ann Scheck McAlearney, Terri Menser, Cynthia J. Sieck, Lindsey N. Sova, Timothy R. Huerta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Limited access to care can negatively affect population health, which is particularly concerning for individuals of lower socioeconomic status. Shortages of US health care providers in areas that predominantly serve Medicaid enrollees contribute to a lack of access. The Ohio Medicaid Technical Assistance and Policy Program Healthcare Access Initiative was designed as a workforce development initiative to train and deploy community health workers (CHWs). The authors conducted 55 key informant interviews with preceptors, CHWs, and administrators across 5 sites with the specific aim of improving understanding of common barriers to and benefits of CHW program implementation across different CHW programs in Ohio. CHW programs reportedly act as a bridge between the patient and providers, and program benefits were reported for participants, organizations, and patients. This study found that CHW programs enabled training of health professionals that can empower participants while allowing them to also give back to their communities. Organizations employing CHWs reported being able to extend clinic services, increase utilization of community resources, and improve patient compliance through the efforts of CHWs; program impacts also led to increased patient support, patient education, and overall better care. To better integrate CHWs into health care organizations, organizations should focus on clearly defining the CHW role and ensuring adequate infrastructure to support CHW efforts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)38-46
Number of pages9
JournalPopulation Health Management
Volume23
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2020

Keywords

  • access to care
  • community health
  • implementation challenges
  • training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Leadership and Management
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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