Level of Integration of Community Health Workers in Missouri Health Systems
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The purpose of this study was to describe the level of integration of community health workers (CHWs) into Missouri public healthcare systems using a cross-sectional survey research design. Representatives of all Missouri Local Public Health Agencies, Rural Health Clinics, and Federally Qualified Health Centers were pre-contacted by telephone to provide the electronic mail of the most knowledgeable person in the facility/location to complete a brief electronic survey on their use of CHWs. 103 representatives of the 273 (37.7% response rate) contacted from the health systems completed the Profile of Community Health Workers in Missouri Health Systems to assess role, professional development, and information needs of CHWs used in the key informants’ agencies. An Abridged Survey was created for participants who responded to the survey but indicated that CHWs were not currently working for their organization. Descriptive statistics and measures of central tendency were computed. Only 16% (16/103) of participants noted that CHWs were employed in their organizations; and most CHWs connected people with services, served low-income and rural populations, and addressed heart disease issues. Participants who did not currently employ CHWs indicated they did not anticipate needing them in the near future. Of those utilizing CHWs, most perceived CHWs have a vital role in healthcare (M = 4.27/5.0, SD = 0.64) but securing sustainable funding for CHWs was challenging (M = 4.18/5.0, SD = 0.87). Utilization of CHWs in Missouri healthcare systems is limited. If their role in Missouri healthcare systems is to expand, a campaign to educate on their role and value is needed.
KeywordsCommunity health workers Healthcare Perceptions Missouri Health system
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
A small stipend was awarded to the researchers by the MO Department of Health and Senior Services/Section for Community Health.
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