Section 110: Community Health Workers Study

The department of public health shall make an investigation and study relative to (a) using and funding of community health workers by public and private entities in the commonwealth, (b) increasing access to health care, particularly Medicaid-funded health and public health services, and (c) eliminating health disparities among vulnerable populations. The department shall convene a statewide advisory council to assist in developing said investigation, interpreting its results, and developing recommendations for a sustainable community health worker program involving: public and private partnerships to improve access to health care, elimination of health disparities, increased use of primary care and a reduction in inappropriate use of hospital emergency rooms, and stronger workforce development in the commonwealth, including a training curriculum and community health worker certification program to insure high standards, cultural competency and quality of services. The advisory council shall be chaired by the commissioner of public health or his designee and shall include 14 additional members, including the chief executives or their designees of the following agencies or organizations: office of Medicaid, department of workforce development, Massachusetts Community Health Workers Network, Outreach Worker Training Institute of Central Massachusetts Area Health Education Center, Community Partners’ Health Access Network, the Massachusetts Public Health Association, Massachusetts Center for Nursing, Boston Public Health Commission, Massachusetts Association of Health Plans, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Massachusetts Medical Society, Massachusetts Hospital Association, the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers and the MassHealth Technical Forum. The department shall report to the general court the results of its study and its recommendations by filing them with the clerks of the house and senate, who shall forward them to the joint committee on health care financing and to the house and senate committees on ways and means on or before January 1, 2007.

Summary: 
Requires the Department of Public Health to investigate the funding of community health workers to increase overall access to health care, and eliminate health disparities among vulnerable populations.