Organizational Readiness for Community Health Worker Workforce Integration Among Medicaid Contracted Health Plans and Provider Networks: An Arizona Case Study

Authors: Samantha Sabo , Nancy Wexler, Louisa O’Meara , Heather Dreifuss, Yanitza Soto, Floribella Redondo, Heather Carter, Jill Guernsey de Zapien, and Maia Ingram
Year: 2021
State: AZ
Website link:
Publicly Available: Yes
Certification: CHW role scope of practice, Competencies
Evidence Generation: Documentation of how CHWs can work within care teams, Surveys and assessment tools to define and develop workforce
Policy: Living wage campaigns, MCO contract language and reimbursement models
Sustainable Financing: Education to HC orgs on payment options bundled etc., Documentation of how CHWs can work within care teams, Surveys and assessment tools to define and develop workforce
Workforce Development: Data sharing between social services and clinical teams, General other (including mention of “employment practices”)

Understanding and building organizational capacity for system change and the integration of the Community Health Worker (CHW) workforce within the healthcare sector requires a supportive organizational culture among sector leaders and providers. The aim of this mixed-methods study was to assess organizational readiness for CHW workforce integration into Arizona Medicaid health systems and care teams. This collaborative effort was in direct response to emergent state and national CHW workforce policy opportunities, and the shifting health care landscape in Arizona – which merged behavior and physical health. Specifically, and in collaboration with a broad-based, statewide CHW workforce coalition, led by the CHW professional association, we assessed 245 licensed health care professionals with experience working with CHWs and 16 Medicaid-contracted health plan leadership. Our goal was to generate a baseline understanding of the knowledge, attitudes and beliefs these stakeholders held about the integration of CHWs into systems and teams. Our findings demonstrate a high level of organizational readiness and action toward integration of CHWs within the Arizona healthcare system and care teams. CHWs have emerged as a health care workforce able to enhance the patient experience of care, improve population health, reduce cost of care, and improve the experience of providing care among clinicians and staff.

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