Transforming the delivery of care in the post-health reform era: what role will community health workers play?

Am J Public Health. 2011 Dec;101(12):e1-5. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2011.300335. Epub 2011 Oct 20.


The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) affords opportunities to sustain the role of community health workers (CHWs). Among myriad strategies encouraged by PPACA are prevention and care coordination, particularly for chronic diseases, chief drivers of increased health care costs. Prevention and care coordination are functions that have been performed by CHWs for decades, particularly among underserved populations. The two key delivery models promoted in the PPACA are accountable care organizations and health homes. Both stress the importance of interdisciplinary, interprofessional health care teams, the ideal context for integrating CHWs. Equally important, the payment structures encouraged by PPACA to support these delivery models offer the vehicles to sustain the role of these valued workers.

MeSH terms

  • Accountable Care Organizations
  • Capitation Fee
  • Community Health Workers* / economics
  • Cost Savings
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Delivery of Health Care* / economics
  • Episode of Care
  • Health Care Reform*
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Humans
  • Patient Care Team
  • Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act*
  • Patient-Centered Care
  • Reimbursement, Incentive
  • United States