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IHN-CCO begins pilot to develop a community health worker hub


InterCommunity Health Network CCO (IHN-CCO) is launching the Community Health Worker Pilot to develop an infrastructure for a community health worker hub. The hub will exist to hire, train, supervise and evaluate a clinical community health worker program to provide care coordination and chronic disease self-management for IHN-CCO members.

Benton County Health Services (BCHS) will serve as the hub and Kelly Volkmann, the BCHS Health Navigation Program Manager, will serve as Project Coordinator. As part of the pilot, three community health workers (CHWs) will be placed in selected Patient-Centered Primary Care Home (PCPCH) pilot sites. Pilot evaluation will determine the project’s successes and next steps.

The pilot will address and support healthcare transformation by:

  • Supporting the implementation and development of Patient-Centered Primary Care Homes: Clinical CHWs will work with nurse care coordinators/patient-care teams to provide enhanced care coordination and chronic disease self-management services.
  • Ensuring communication, outreach, member engagement and services are tailored to cultural, health literacy and linguistic needs: Clinical CHWs will increase availability of culturally, linguistically, and health literate-appropriate care coordination and chronic disease self-management services.
  • Ensuring provider network and staff ability to meet culturally diverse needs of community: Clinical CHWs will reflect member diversity to the extent practicable. CHWs as members of a care coordination “teamlet” or a patient-centered care team will address disparities in access, quality and experience of care, and lead to improved health outcomes

According to Oregon’s Senate Bill 1580, coordinated care organizations must ensure that their members have access to “…qualified community health workers who are part of the member’s care team to provide assistance that is culturally and linguistically appropriate to the member’s need to access appropriate services and participate in processes affecting the member’s care and services.”

Community health workers share ethnicity, language, socioeconomic status and/or life experiences with the residents of the communities they serve. They can provide a range of services, including health education and information, health care system navigation, care coordination, and limited case management.