The July 2010 issues of Health Affairs details PPACA's provisions that promote community health workers as key members of health care teams and mobilizing community members to push for positive changes in neighborhoods in order to create healthier communities. The article also highlights policies in Minnesota and Massachussetts that encourage the use of community health workers, including reimbursement by Medicaid for community health worker activities.
Community health workers are recognized in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as important members of the health care workforce. The evidence shows that they can help improve health care access and outcomes; strengthen health care teams; and enhance quality of life for people in poor, underserved, and diverse communities. We trace how two states, Massachusetts and Minnesota, initiated comprehensive policies to foster far more utilization of community health workers and, in the case of Minnesota, to make their services reimbursable under Medicaid. We recommend that other states follow the lead of these states, further developing the workforce of community health workers, devising appropriate regulations and credentialing, and allowing the services of these workers to be reimbursed