Project Term: 24 months; 2016-2018
Grant Amount: $140,772
This grant will create a plan to support the broader use of community health workers (CHWs) in Montana. CHWs are frontline public health workers who are trusted members of the communities they serve. They are intended to serve as a liaison between community members and health and social service providers in order to facilitate access to care, transportation, appropriate follow-up, and continuity of services. Strong evidence demonstrates that CHWs can improve health outcomes in a cost-effective way. While CHWs and CHW-like roles are becoming more common in the U.S. and Montana, there is little consistency in how the role is defined, or in the training, employment, and funding of these positions. This plan will include standardized training curriculum for CHWs, identification of payment models to support policy-level changes needed to sustain these positions, and education for providers on how to utilize them. A stakeholder group comprising payers, providers, and health departments will provide broad-based perspective; and focused work groups will develop a model curriculum, training delivery models, and address policy issues related to scope, credentials, payment models, and sustainability.