Public Policy Arenas 4
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Arenas of public policy affecting CHWs include:
- Workforce development
- Occupational definition
- Standards for research and evaluation
- Sustainable funding for CHW positions
Our third session on policy arenas focuses on financing. Numerous surveys of CHWs and other stakeholders in the field have found the lack of sustainable funding for CHW positions to be the biggest obstacle to further growth for the workforce.
We have noted in previous sessions that the current pattern of categorical short-term funding tends to keep CHWs in “silos” and limits the incentives for policy action in other areas. In this session, we will discuss the range of potential sources of sustainable funding for CHW positions. One possibility is that an employer may hire CHWs out of core budgets on the basis of anticipated return on investment. Because this mechanism for funding is one of the least understood, greater efforts are needed to educate and raise awareness among employers and other stakeholders.
Much discussion has centered on including CHWs in various provisions of the federal health-care reform act. We will review some of the opportunities for such funding embedded in this legislation.