Early lessons and strategies from statewide efforts to integrate community health workers into medicaid

Rani George, Rose Gunn, Noelle Wiggins, Ruth Rowland, Melinda M. Davis, Kenneth Maes, Angie Kuzma, K. John McConnell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The 2010 Affordable Care Act provided new impetus and funding opportunities for state Medicaid agencies to integrate community health workers (CHWs) into their health systems. Community health workers are trusted community members who participate in training so they can promote health in their own communities. This qualitative study shares lessons and strategies from Oregon’s early efforts to integrate CHWs into Medicaid with concomitant financing, policy, and infrastructure issues. Key informant interviews were conducted with 16 Coordinated care organizations (CCO) and analyzed using an iterative, immersion-crystallization approach. Coordinated care organizations found CHW integration a supportive factor for Medicaid-enrolled members navigating health and social services, educating members about disease conditions, and facilitating member engagement in primary care. Barriers to CHW integration included a lack of understanding about CHW roles and their benefits to health systems, as well as a need for more intensive guidance and support on financing and integrating CHW services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)845-858
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of health care for the poor and underserved
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2020


  • Accountable care organizations
  • Community health workers
  • Health care reform
  • Medicaid
  • Primary health care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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