Arizona's Community Health Worker Workforce:

Assessment of the Integration and Financing of Community Health Workers within Arizona Medicaid Health Plans

Now that the process is under way to provide voluntary certification of community health workers (via the ADHS Rulemaking), an important next is to engage Arizona health plan leadership in conversations about the integration and sustainability of the CHW workforce within Arizona’s Medicaid contracted health plans and provider networks. 

To that end, the Center for Health Equity Research at NAU through funding from the ADHS and in collaboration with the UA Prevention Research Center (AzPRC) wrote a report that was released this week which provides insight into innovative strategies for integrating, sustaining and scaling of the CHW workforce within AHCCCS.

The new report provides direct insight to this pathway via conversations with health plan leadership including topics on:

1. Current and Projected Utilization

2. Roles, Competencies and Skills

3. Recruitment and Training

4. Financing and Payment Models

5. Healthcare and Workforce Policy

The report found that Arizona health plan leaders recognize that Community Health Workers can play a significant role in improving patient outcomes and reducing system costs for health care. Many health plan leaders already actively support their contracted provider networks to better integrate and finance CHWs to meet HEDIS measures.

In fact, 4 AHCCCS Health Plans and 10 of 22 Federally Qualified Community Health Centers currently employ CHWs to link patients to community resources to promote self-management.

The research team found that health plan leadership expects that the new Arizona Complete Care Contracts will fundamentally expand the need for CHWs and the core competencies, roles and skills as plans expand their services and seek creative approaches to meeting membership medical and non-medical needs.

This week's report sheds light on important next steps toward building CHWs into the care network.

Congratulations and thanks to AzPHA member Dr. Samantha Sabo, Louisa O’Meara, and Katie Castro for their work on this important roadmap document.