News & Events

  • This webinar, hosted by USC Annenberg's Center for Health Journalism with support from NIHCM Foundation, will look at groundbreaking new research on what private insurance plans are paying for common procedures in markets across the country and how those prices are influenced by provider consolidation.

  • Living in poverty can have serious health consequences. Lower-income Americans are at higher risk of developing chronic diseases, and providers report challenges ensuring compliance with treatment guidelines when their patients have limited resources.

  • Americans spend more than $30 billion a year on vitamins and supplements. But how do we know these pills are safe? In Supplements and Safety, FRONTLINE, The New York Times and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation team up to investigate the supplement industry...

  • To recognize the critical role of researchers and journalists in improving the health care system, each year NIHCM Foundation presents awards for outstanding work in these fields. We are pleased to announce a call for entries for our 22nd annual awards program.

  • The New York Times has a front-page story today highlighting new research about variations in health spending. This research, led by Yale University's Zack Cooper and supported by grants from NIHCM Foundation and The Commonwealth Fund, marks a major advance in the understanding of prices and spending in private insurance.

  • NIHCM Foundation hosted a webinar on strategies to improve adolescent health and reduce teen pregnancy...

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota

July 2012 Issue Brief:

Investing the the Future Health Care Workforce

Supporting the Current and Future Health Care Workforce

Investing in Community Health Workers

The ACA identified community health workers (CHWs) as important members of the health care workforce.  However, long before the ACA was passed in 2010, Blue Cross Blue Shield foundations in Massachusetts and Minnesota recognized CHWs as vital partners in providing health services to poor and underserved communities.    

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation (Blue Cross Foundation) has also supported an extensive CHW project for over ten years in order to promote health in underserved communities and strengthen the cultural competence of health and service organizations serving the state’s increasingly diverse population.  The efforts have helped to develop partnerships and coalitions that have resulted in impressive concrete outcomes throughout the state.  For example, the foundation provided seed funds for the Healthcare Education-Industry Partnership to develop the Minnesota Community Health Worker Alliance, which went on to oversee the development of a statewide standardized curriculum for CHWs offered in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System.  The curriculum was the first of its kind in the nation and the Alliance is currently exploring how to offer it online in order to expand the training opportunities in the state.  The foundation also commissioned the National Fund for Medical Education at the University of California-San Francisco Center for the Health Professions to conduct the first national study of sustainable financing mechanisms for CHWs.  Findings from this research showing a positive return on investment for the dollars spent on training and employing CHWs led to 2007 legislation approving the direct hourly reimbursement of CHW services under Medicaid.  Minnesota remains the only state that reimburses for CHWs in clinical settings. 

Blue Cross Foundation currently funds two additional projects to support CHWs who provide services in Minnesota’s underserved communities.  The Deaf Community Health Worker Project focuses on empowering deaf people to become active participants in their own health by assisting immigrants, refugees, senior citizens and cancer survivors with hearing impairments through the use of diagrams and pictures to explain medical information and ensure adherence to recommended care.  These CHWs also accompany patients to medical appointments, leading to an estimated preliminary savings of 40 percent from a reduced number of missed appointments due to interpreter services.[i] The second grant is a research project at the Mayo Clinic to explore how CHWs in primary care improve health outcomes for immigrant patients.  Results will be available at the end of 2013.

July 2012 Issue Brief


[i] Ancheta J.  Bridging barriers, expanding access, improving health. Presentation during National Institute for Health Care Management (NIHCM) Foundation webinar April 5, 2012.

 
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