Connecticut Health Foundation: Tomorrow’s Health Care System Needs Community Health Workers

This policy brief from the Connecticut Health Foundation makes the case that community health workers (CHWs) can help health care systems transition away from expensive, avoidable health care to more community-based, person-centered health promotion and prevention that will also save health care system costs.  CHWs are trusted members of the communities they serve and share ethnicity, culture, language, socioeconomic status, and life experiences with community members.  While CHWs have been working on health promotion and prevention for decades, health care reform has created opportunities to integrate CHWs into health care teams and systems, using funding mechanisms intended to drive innovation, quality improvement, and payment reform.  The policy brief was authored by staff at the UMass Medical School Center for Health Law and Economics.

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