Author: Samantha Lew
Community Health Workers (CHWs), go by many names: lay health workers, navigators, promotores, peer support workers, health educators, community health advocates, community health liaisons, and many other titles. All community health workers are public health outreach professionals with an in-depth understanding of the experiences, languages, cultures, and socioeconomic needs of the community they serve.
CHWs facilitate interactions between patients, the health care system, and social and economic services. For example, CHWs can help people: make appointments; understand their health insurance benefits; communicate effectively with doctors, pharmacists, dentists, and other health care providers; adapt medical advice to their lived reality; access services like food and diaper banks; and more.
Currently, Connecticut’s Medicaid program does not reimburse for CHW services or incentivize health care providers to work with CHWs. 25 other states do. It’s time for that to change. Community health workers are an effective way to address inequities and promote health, particularly for low-income households served by Medicaid.
Please share with your network! To download this Advocacy Toolkit, please click here.
Questions? Comments? Please contact Sam Lew at email@example.com
Tools for taking action:
- Talking points can be found here.
- A graphic folder can be found here.
- The testimony template can be found here.
- Fact Sheet 1: What is a Community Health Worker; Fact Sheet 2: Community Health Worker Policies State-By-State (coming soon!)
- Social Media Toolkit below!
- The contact list for CT General Assembly Legislators can be found here.
Community health workers: Improving Health and Advancing Equity in CT Forum:
- ICYMI: Health Equity Solutions, the Connecticut Health Foundation, the Office of Health Strategy, and the Community Health Workers Association of Connecticut held a forum on Monday, January 30th. Participants heard from key experts about Community Health Workers (CHWs), their role in addressing health inequities, AND opportunities for sustainable funding. The recording can be found here (https://fb.watch/iq8OzdGyyt/)!
The Human Services Committee will hold a public hearing on S.B. 991 on February 21, 2023, at 11:00 AM in Room 2D of the LOB and via Zoom.
If you plan to testify via zoom OR in person:
- Individuals who wish to testify via Zoom OR in person must register using this Online Testimony Registration Form. Registration will close on February 20, 2023, at 3:00 P.M. If you wish for HES to sign you up to testify on Zoom and to text, you when your turn to testify is getting closer, please sign up here no later than Sunday, February 19 by 5 PM.
- Speaker order of approved registrants will be listed in a randomized order and posted on the Human Services Committee website on February 20, 2023, at 6:00 PM under Public Hearing Testimony. HES will share the final speaker list with the entire coalition list and a tracker with anyone we sign up.
- The first hour of the hearing is reserved for public officials. Speakers will be limited to three minutes of testimony.
- The public hearing can be viewed via YouTube Live.
If you plan to send in written testimony:
- Please submit written testimony in Word or PDF format here.
- The testimony template can be found here; it links to detailed talking points.
- Factsheets can be found here: Fact Sheet 1: What is a Community Health Worker
- The fifth annual state-wide Health Equity Week will be held April 2-8, 2023, and will serve as an opportunity to raise awareness and discuss solutions to advance health equity in Connecticut. We plan to raise awareness about community health workers, their role in advancing health equity, and opportunities in this legislative session for sustainable funding. Join us and our partners this HEW! More details to come!
- Please join us for a Community Health Worker Lobby Day at the Capitol on Thursday, April 6! More details to come!
- The Ministerial Health Fellowship Legislative Breakfast will be held on March 1, 2023. More details to come!
Sample posts for social media:
- Join us to learn more about Community Health Workers & why they matter! Follow the #CHWs4CT series to learn more! Visit bit.ly/CHWs4CT for more information.
- A Community Health Worker (CHW) is a public health outreach professional with an in-depth understanding of the experience, language, culture & socioeconomic needs of the community #CHWs4CT
- CHWs facilitate interactions between patients, the health care system, and social and economic services #CHWs4CT
- Currently, Connecticut’s Medicaid program does not reimburse CHW services or incentivize health care providers to work with CHWs. 25 other states do. It’s time for a change! #CHWs4CT
- CHWs can help people: make appointments; understand their health insurance benefits; communicate effectively with doctors, pharmacists, dentists, and other health care providers; adapt medical advice to their lived reality; access other services like food and diaper banks; and more #CHWs4CT
- CHWs help eliminate health inequities by improving access to care, guiding individuals through their health needs, and connecting people with preventive services; all of which helps address health inequities #CHWs4CT
- The role that CHWs play in addressing social and economic needs makes them an essential component of transforming health systems to provide “whole person” care #CHWs4CT
- CHWs help underserved people access the right care at the right time by removing barriers to care, enhancing the patient’s experience, improving population health outcomes, and reducing costs #CHWs4CT
- CHWs often guide patients through pregnancy, lactation, and postpartum transitions #CHWs4CT
- Evidence strongly suggests that providing CHW support through Medicaid is likely to reduce health disparities, which are often rooted in social and economic barriers to health #CHWs4CT
- CHWs have a high impact on health outcomes AND a high return on investment; in other words, CHW programs are effective and efficient #CHWs4CT
- Black & Latino/a households face disproportionate rates of medical debt & other inequities (e.g. uninsurance) limiting opportunities for health. Visit bit.ly/CHWs4CT to learn how CHWs can help. #CHWs4CT
- Community health workers are effective in addressing inequities and promoting health, particularly for low-income households served by Medicaid #HealthEquity #CHWs4CT
- COVID-19 has highlighted the impact of community health workers, who were involved in building trust, contact tracing, community outreach and education, COVID-19 testing and vaccination clinics, and connecting community members to needed services and supports #CHWs4CT
- Right now, a lack of sustainable funding means CHW jobs are limited and often lack consistency in scope, hours, etc. CT can join 25 other states in funding CHWs through Medicaid #CHWs4CT