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CHW Quarterly Enews

February 2017


2016 Key Accomplishments

Welcome 2017! As the KC Regional Community Health Worker (CHW) Collaborative plans for 2017, we spent time reflecting upon our 2016 accomplishments. 2016 was a very successful year for the Collaborative. It formalized its bylaws and organizational structure, laying the foundation for our members and subcommittees to develop and implement work plans, and take steps toward achieving our mission: To integrate CHWs into the health and human services systems through capacity building, advocacy and sustainability.

The Collaborative’s notable accomplishments include:

  • Developing and implementing an outreach and education campaign.
  • Developing a certification proposal that the Collaborative will advocate for at the state levels in Kansas and Missouri.
  • Holding a conference on the benefits of utilizing CHWs.
  • Creating a long-term strategic plan with metrics to evaluate our success.

Building off our success in 2016, plans for 2017 include:

  • Offering a variety of CHW professional development activities to meet the Collaborative’s capacity-building goals. Planned trainings include mental health first aid, leadership and facilitation training.
  • Enhancing our advocacy efforts with this quarterly newsletter to educate the broader regional community about the Collaborative’s work.
  • Assessing the benefits of a regional CHW Association and developing a plan for creating one.
  • Convening a workgroup to develop recommended core measures for regional CHW programs to create an opportunity for large-scale return-on-investment analysis.
  • Planning a follow-up workshop to the successful fall 2016 CHW conference.
  • Continued involvement in state-level policy efforts in Missouri and Kansas.

2016 Key Accomplishments: month-by-month

  • February 2016:
    • Bylaws and Organizational Chart: The Collaborative adopted bylaws and an organizational structure.
    • CHW Scope of Practice: CHW Forum adopted a Community Health Worker Scope of Practice.
  • March 2016:
    • Subcommittee Chairs: The Executive Committee approves nominations of chairs for the Capacity Building, Sustainability and Advocacy Subcommittees.
  • April 2016:
    • Advocacy Campaign: The Advocacy Subcommittee debuted its informational presentation to the Collaborative, which is the cornerstone of its outreach and advocacy campaign to educate the community and potential employers about the benefits of working with CHWs.
  • May 2016:
    • Certification Research: Finalized the results of cross-state research of CHW certification programs nationally, and prepared a side-by-side comparison. This was the first step in the development of a Collaborative position on CHW certification.
  • August 2016:
    • Regional Certification Survey: The Collaborative surveyed regional stakeholders on its preferences regarding CHW certification.
    • Advocacy Outreach Campaign: The Advocacy Subcommittee presented to:
      • Clay County Senior Services
      • Northland Professionals in Aging
  • September 2016:
    • CHW Professional Development: A Medicare enrollment guest expert shared information and resources with the CHW Forum.
    • Advocacy Outreach Campaign: The Advocacy Subcommittee:
      • Created an informational rack card to be distributed to regional stakeholders to increase awareness of the profession and Collaborative activities.
      • The Advocacy Subcommittee presented to KC Metro Physicians.
  • October 2016:
    • Regional CHW Program Inventory: The Executive Committee adopted the results of the regional CHW program inventory that tracks: 1) the organizations utilizing CHWs regionally, and 2) the number of CHWs in the region. The program inventory will serve as a baseline against which to measure growth in the number of CHWs and organizations that work with CHWs in the region.
    • Logic Model and Long-term Goals: The Executive Committee finalized its logic model, which outlines the Collaborative’s work plans and short and long-term goals. The logic model will be re-evaluated annually.
    • Advocacy Outreach Campaign: The Advocacy Subcommittee presented to:
      • EITAS, Developmental Disability Health Initiative
      • KC Communities for All Ages, Leadership Advisory Board
    • Final CHW Certification Proposal: The Collaborative adopted a CHW certification proposal for the states of Kansas and Missouri. The proposal is based upon state-by-state research, the results of the regional survey and discussions held in the CHW Forum.
    • CHW Professional Development: Kansas Medicaid and Missouri Medicaid guest experts share information and resources with the CHW Forum.
  • November 2016:
    • CHWs: A Bridge to Value-based Care Conference: The Collaborative held a successful one-day conference targeted toward educating health care providers and payers on the benefits of working with CHWs. The conference hosted regional and national providers and payers, and highlighted their successes for 200 conference attendees.
    • Advocacy Outreach Campaign: The Advocacy Subcommittee presented to KC Communities for All Ages, Leadership Advisory Board, Caregiver Subcommittee.
  • December 2016:
    • Regional CHW Core Program Evaluation Measures: The Executive Committee appoints a workgroup to develop a recommended set of core CHW program evaluation measures for the region.
READ MORE about the Collaborative’s long-term strategic plan.

CHW Collaborative holds first conference

On November 9, 2016, the KC Regional CHW Collaborative held a one-day conference titled CHWs: A Bridge to Value-based Care, which was designed to introduce health care providers, and payers of health care services to the benefits of working with CHWs.

In the changing health care environment, reimbursement is increasingly linked to the quality and value of care. As a result, providers and payers of health care services are exploring new ways to improve the delivery of care while reducing costs. The conference featured regionally and nationally recognized experts in the field who discussed how CHWs improve patient care and ensure better care is delivered at a lower cost.

The keynote address was presented by Dr. Shreya Kangovi, the founding executive director of the Penn Center for Community Health Workers and an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania Perelmann School of Medicine. Dr. Kangovi spoke about IMPaCT, a model of care she helped design in which CHWs support high-risk patients to set and achieve health goals. A study has shown that IMPaCT improved access to care, mental health, patient activation and quality of communication, while also reducing recurrent hospital readmission.

The conference also featured two panels, one that discussed how CHWs are an integral component of health care teams, and another that examined how CHWs are integrated into health care payers' operations.

CHWs: A Bridge to Value-based Care, the Collaborative’s first conference, was well received, with nearly 200 attendees and positive post-conference evaluations. The conference was made possible by contributions from the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City and Humana. The KC Regional CHW Collaborative is now planning a follow up conference for later in 2017.

READ MORE about the conference.

Meet a Community Health Worker: Roshni Diyali Biswa

Consultant Erika Saleski recently interviewed Community Health Worker Roshni Diyali Biswa to find out about her experience being a CHW. Biswa works with the KC CARE Clinic in Wyandotte County, Kansas. This is the first of a series of interviews with CHWs.

Q: What is the most rewarding aspect of being a CHW?

A: To me, to be a CHW is most rewarding because I work in my community and I am the new hope to assist them in their needs, to work with them from the heart. We build relationships and then trust. We give them hope that they will find services that they are seeking. We guide them and walk along their path with them. They are not alone. Once the goals are accomplished and their needs are met, we see the relief on their faces. This gives me the most joy and is the most rewarding part of being a CHW.

Q: Please describe a recent success.

A: My recent success is that I have been helping most of my clients to get resources if they need help with exercise, or going to their doctor’s appointments, and to understand what the doctor is trying to say. Seeing them to be able to do that on their own is a success to me. A few people have asked me if I can have dinner with them, even though I cannot because I have to maintain boundaries, this shows that I have built trust with them.

Q: What aspects of the Metropolitan Community College CHW course has been most useful to you in practice?

A: The course has helped me be sensitive and understand the community, because it has helped me understand other cultures and not judge or expect anything from my perspective.
It has helped me understand my journey as a CHW. It has helped me understand my role as a CHW and to set the boundaries between me and the client.

Q: How did you get started as a CHW?

A: It all started with my dad. He is a pastor in Kansas. We began to talk at night about how he used to help his congregation. He read and wrote English, so he used to go to doctor’s appointments with them, help them access services, read letters, etc. In 2009, I began to help him and my church family as a volunteer. They would give my name to their doctors to speak on behalf of them. I realized they were putting their trust in me and I could get involved in the health side. So, I started working with my whole community not just my church community. In 2015, my father heard about the course and suggested I take it. That’s when I realized I was doing the work of a CHW. I started work with KC CARE in Wyandotte County in 2016.

Q: What would you say to encourage others to become a CHW?

A: I would encourage anyone who is passionate to serve the community. It is not an easy job to help people access services, build relationships with the community and perform outreach. It takes passion and patience. I help clients navigate the health system, direct them to a safety net clinic, listen to their needs, help them access other services. If anyone has the passion to provide those services, I encourage them to do it.

Q: What are your hopes for the CHW profession in the region?

A: My hope is that the schools, clinics, physicians, hospitals, social services and non-profits understand the value of the CHW and the value of how they impact the community. This recognition would lead to more CHW jobs in the community.

The KC Regional Community Health Worker Collaborative is supported by a grant from the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City.