Critical Inputs for Successful Community Health Worker Programs

Authors: National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) Denys Lau , PhD Jeni Soucie, MS Jacqueline Willits, MPH Sarah Hudson Scholle, MPH, DrPH; Penn Center for Community Health Workers (PCCHW) Shreya Kangovi, MD, MS Cheryl Garfield, CHW Jill Feldstein, MPA
Year: 2021
State: NatDoc: National Document
Website link:
Publicly Available: Yes
Certification: CHW input in process, CHW role scope of practice, Competencies
Evidence Generation: Documentation of how CHWs can work within care teams, Evidence-based interventions, Surveys and assessment tools to define and develop workforce
Sustainable Financing: All
Workforce Development: CHW training programs (not cert.), Data sharing between social services and clinical teams, General other (including mention of “employment practices”), National endorsement/stance on CHWs, Outreach campaigns to identify CHWs, Outreach education and TA to employers on CHW generally, Recruiting and convening CHWs stakeholders

Community health workers, promotoras, and community health representatives (hereafter collectively referred to as CHWs) are essential to the COVID-19 response and long-term health equity for the communities they serve. Policymakers, including Congress and President Joe Biden, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Health Services and Resources Administration, and state health departments, among others, have called for increased investment in this workforce. Local, state, and federal stakeholders, including payers, policymakers, and government officials, need a way to ensure that increased investment translates into effective CHW programs, and that CHWs are supported in their work. In 2020, the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), in partnership with the Penn Center for Community Health Workers (PCCHW), set out to develop standards for recruiting, employing, and supervising CHWs that would support sustainable payment approaches for organizations that employ and partner with CHWs. This paper summarizes the work completed, describes organizational elements that can support the CHW workforce, and identifies important considerations needed for future development of standards.

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