News & Events

  • Despite the potential consequences for babies, up to 10 percent of pregnant women opt to deliver through C-section or induction prior to 39 weeks gestation without medical indication. 

  • The CDC has declared adolescent vaccination against human papillomavirus (HPV) one of the top five public health priorities of 2014. Last month the President's Cancer Council also issued an urgent call to action to improve HPV vaccination rates.

  • Evidence has consistently shown that hospital consolidations are associated with higher prices, but preventing anti-competitive mergers has proven difficult.

  • For decades steady increases in lifestyle-related illnesses have affected our quality of life and our bottom line. With more than half of Americans now facing at least one chronic disease, the status quo is no longer acceptable. 

  • Health care is a uniquely challenging consumer experience: it can be complex and expensive but also vital and deeply personal. It’s no wonder that consumers are looking to technology to help simplify their health care choices—and businesses are increasingly meeting them with solutions.

  • Patient-centered care has at its base a very powerful concept: health care decisions should be driven by the preferences, needs and values of the patient. In this essay, Michael Millenson identifies three distinct ways of thinking about patient-centered care—ethically, economically and clinically.

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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