Building a Consensus on Community Health Workers’ Scope of Practice: Lessons from New York

Seq ID: 359
DocID: NY1
Authors: Findley S, Matos S, Hicks A, Campbell A, Moore A, Diaz D
Year: 2012
State: NY
Website link:
Publicly Available: Yes
Certification: CHW roles and scope of practice, CHW input in process
Policy: Identifying policy expertise within state
Workforce Development: National endorsement/stance on CHWs, Training- Continuing education

Objectives. We evaluated efforts in New York to build a consensus between community health workers (CHWs) and employers on CHWs’ scope of practice, training standards, and certification procedures. Methods. We conducted multiple-choice surveys in 2008 and 2010 with 226 CHWs and 44 employers. We compared CHWs’ and employers’ recommendations regarding 28 scope of practice elements. The participatory ranking method was used to identify consensus scope of practice recommendations. Results. There was consensus on 5 scope of practice elements: outreach and community organizing, case management and care coordination, home visits, health education and coaching, and system navigation. For each element, 3 to 4 essential skills were identified, giving a total of 27 skills. These included all skills recommended in national CHW studies, along with 3 unique to New York: computer skills, participatory research methods, and time management. Conclusions. CHWs and employers in New York were in consensus on CHWs’ scope of practice on virtually all of the detailed core competency skills. The CHW scope of practice recommendations of these groups can help other states refine their scope of practice elements.

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