New Report Looks at Sustainability of Community Health Workers, NJ Implementing CHW Pilot

According to Crain's, a new report<> has concluded that community health workers, who are integral to health care in parts of the developing world, can also play a vital role in U.S. health care reform-if the programs receive institutional support and sustainable financing. The potential for community health workers-public health employees who do outreach and education in the communities they come from-to improve health outcomes is gaining new attention under health care reform efforts including DSRIP and the rise of patient-centered medical homes.

A new community health worker program being developed in Newark, N.J. out of a partnership between Newark Beth Israel Medical Center and an apprenticeship program run by the state in collaboration with Rutgers University. The cost of hiring the workers during the pilot will be shared between the hospital, the New Jersey Department of Labor and Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey.

According to Crain's, "Horizon will help Newark Beth Israel identify patients who have not been to a primary-care provider in a long time and who have a complex set of conditions that frequently land them in the hospital. The community health workers will then strive to reconnect those patients to primary care while addressing other social issues they face. One team member will focus on reaching out to people with serious mental health issues."

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