Shreya Kangovi, M.D., M.S., founding executive of the Penn Center for Community Health Workers, and David Grande, M.D., M.P.A., Co-Director for the PRC’s Community Engagement, Partnerships & Technical Assistance Core, wrote in last week’s published issue of New England Journal of Medicine about the need for more community health workers. Kangovi and Grande highlight the need for community health workers to assist patients in navigating health systems.
Kangovi and Grande address several implementation issues that come with the potential increase of CHWs, including the need to establish a working network between CHWs and healthcare providers rather than CHWs working for standalone companies or programs. In addition, it will be important for CHWs’ tendency to shift focus from “disease education” to providing assistance with specific insurance implementation issues. David Grande says that “addressing historical implementation barriers will allow programs to maximize this opportunity.”