CEPAC meeting focused on effectiveness of Community Health Workers

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Friday’s CEPACmeeting centered on the clinical and cost-effectiveness of community health workers. The meeting was very well-attended with dozens of stakeholders represented both in the audience, the policymaker panel and in public comment. Community health workers (CHWs) are trusted members of a community who assist patients in accessing appropriate care and in keeping themselves healthy. Known by many names, CHWs are usually non-clinical professionals working in public health settings. The committee recognized that CHWs can provide value in improving health status, reducing inappropriate care and those costs, and promoting health equity. There was general agreement that there is not enough high-quality research to define best policies and standards for training, certification, types of patient interaction, specialization, patient matching, and evaluation. But there was general agreement that CHWs offer a promising opportunity to further the goals of improving health and controlling costs.