Advancing Community Health Worker Practice and Utilization: The Focus on Financing


Catherine Dower, Melissa Knox, Vanessa Lindler, Ed O'Neil

Dec 2006

There is a growing interest in the use of community health workers in various roles in the US health care system. These workers go by various titles and names—including promotora and community health advisor—but all assist members of the communities they serve. As the role of these workers becomes more accepted and desirable in the overall system of care, they face the challenges of moving from being an exceptional add-on to the system to being more a part of the mainstream. In this report of sustainable financing models for community health workers, a number of examples, best practices and promising directions have been identified and described. Many public and private sector organizations have taken the lead on committing support to community health workers and the services they provide. While community health workers face several challenges and hurdles, this emerging workforce appears to have tremendous potential to improve access to and quality of health care while maintaining or decreasing costs.