Moser’s bill to expand community health worker program and address worker shortage passes House
Rep. Kim Moser’s proposal to increase access to care and address the shortage of health care workers in Kentucky passed this week on the 94th floor of the House and has been sent to the Senate.
The measure, HB 525, streamlines the certification process for community health workers, who are frontline healthcare professionals helping medically underserved communities overcome barriers to care.
Community health workers have a unique close relationship and understanding of the area they serve and typically provide services through local clinics of all types. These health workers are trained to help meet people where they are and focus on connecting communities with available health and social services, whether through education, support or simply navigation. in the health care system. HB 525 would make these services a reimbursable Medicaid service.
“Despite advances in modern medicine and Medicaid providing health care coverage to more than a third of the state’s population, Kentucky has seen no significant improvement in health outcomes,” Moser says. , chairman of the House Health and Family Services Committee. “The state continues to rank among the worst in the nation for the majority of health indicators, including chronic conditions and comorbidities. We need to focus our Medicaid dollars and target the programs that work. By expanding certified CHWs, we will improve health outcomes in Kentucky and realize long-term savings in Medicaid expenditures.
“Most people know how difficult it can be to navigate health services and the medical system, and it shouldn’t be that way. Our goal is to close the gap between health disparities, which starts with meeting people where they are with someone they know and trust. Due to their familiarity and the nature of their region and resources, they often create a more comfortable environment for those otherwise reluctant to seek treatment.
Moser and community leaders representing the underserved point out that having health insurance does not always equate to access to preventive care and ongoing services. These hurdles, along with finding the right outlet for engagement, underscore what many see as the Commonwealth’s most pressing health issue.
“Our state currently ranks near the bottom nationally in many health metrics, including diabetes, cancer and heart disease,” said Moser, a longtime advocate for better health. Population. “That’s why this program is essential to our public health system. Small steps like getting your annual exams or screenings can identify illnesses earlier when treatment is much more effective and less expensive. Community health workers are extremely successful in helping people understand the importance of maintaining their health.
The proposed measure would directly impact approximately 70% of the state’s population. Community health workers have long been recognized for their effectiveness in improving health outcomes and reducing medical costs. According to the state’s Rural Health Information Center, for every dollar invested, the Medicaid program saved $11 in drugs and services provided in eastern Kentucky between 2001 and 2019.
HB 525 will also create a classification system for community health workers as well as a certification process with college credit through the Kentucky Community and Technical College System. This is in line with the Maison’s commitment to strengthening the talent pool in the field of healthcare.