A real-world community health worker care coordination model for high-risk children
Health care systems across the United States are considering community health worker (CHW) services for high-risk patients, despite limited data on how to build and sustain effective CHW programs. We describe the process of providing CHW services to 5,289 at-risk patients within a state-run health system. The program includes 30 CHWs, six care coordinators, the Director of Care Coordination, the Medical Director, a registered nurse, mental health specialists, and legal specialists. CHWs are organized into geographic and specialized teams. All CHWs receive basic training that includes oral and mental health; some receive additional disease-specific training. CHWs develop individualized care coordination plans with patients. The implementation of these plans involves delivery of a wide range of social service and coordination support. The number of CHW contacts is determined by patient risk. CHWs spend about 60% of their time in an office setting. To deliver the program optimally, we had to develop multiple CHW job categories that allow for CHW specialization. We created new technology systems to manage operations. Field issues resulted in program changes to improve service delivery and ensure safety. Our experience serves as a model for how to integrate CHWs into clinical and community systems.
Martin MA, Perry-Bell K, Minier M, Glassgow AE, Van Voorhees BW. A real-world community health worker care coordination model for high-risk children. Health Promot Pract. 2019;20(3):409-418. PMID: 29611433. DOI: 10.1177/1524839918764893.