Do State Community Health Worker Laws Align with Best Available Evidence?

Seq ID: 562
DocID: Natl15
Authors: Barbero C, Gilchrist S, Chriqui JF, Martin MA, Wennerstrom A, VanderVeur J, Prewitt K, Brownstein JN
Year: 2016
State: NatDoc
Website link:
Publicly Available: Yes
Certification: Competencies, CHW roles and scope of practice
Evidence Generation: Surveys and assessment tools to define and develop workforce, Evidence-based interventions, Documentation of how CHWs can work within care teams
Policy: General language around CHW WD
Workforce Development: General

Abstract: Community health workers (CHWs) are expected to improve patient care and population health while reducing health care costs. Law is a tool states are using to build a supportive infrastructure for the CHW workforce. This study assessed the extent existing state law pertaining to the CHW workforce aligned with best available evidence. We used the previously developed Quality and Impact of Component (QuIC) Evidence Assessment method to identify and prioritize those components that could comprise an evidence-informed CHW policy at the state level. We next assessed the extent codified statutes and regulations in effect as of December 31, 2014 for the 50 states and D.C. included the components identified in the evidence assessment. Fourteen components of an evidence-informed CHW policy were identified; eight had best, three had promising, and three had emerging evidence bases. Codified law in 18 states (35.3 % of 51) pertained to the CHW workforce. Fifteen of these 18 states authorized at least one of the 14 components from the evidence assessment (maximum: nine components, median: 2.5). The most frequently authorized component was a defined scope of practice for CHWs (authorized by eight states) followed by a standard core competency curriculum and inclusion of CHWs in multidisciplinary health care teams (each authorized by six states). States could consider the components presented in this article when developing new or strengthening existing law. Keywords: Community health worker – Evidence-informed policy – Health policy – Health law

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