Managing difficult aspects of your health, such as a chronic illness, without an established primary care provider can be overwhelming. For many, this leads to an increase in visits to the Emergency Room – many of which could have been prevented. That’s where the Community Health Worker Program can help.
What is a CHW?
A Community Health Worker (CHW) connects the community with health and social service organizations to help address social determinants of health needs, and ultimately decrease hospitalizations and improve healthier living for the long run.
CHWs work with clients to overcome their personal barriers to accessing the health care they need. CHWs serve as liaisons between clients, their community, healthcare providers, and the healthcare system by:
- Establishing a trusting relationship with clients and their families by providing general support and encouragement while removing or resolving barriers to following their provider’s care plan.
- Coaching clients in effective management of their chronic health conditions and self-care while motivating clients to be active, engaged participants in their health.
- Helping clients set specific and realistic personal goals and develop care management plans.
- Providing ongoing follow-up with clients via phone calls, home visits and health education.
- Providing referrals for services to community agencies as appropriate.
CHWs also build individual and community capacity by increasing health knowledge and self-sufficiency through a range of activities such as outreach, community education, informal counseling, social support, and advocacy.
Who do CHWs serve?
CHWs work with clients who visit the Emergency Room at UP Health System – Bell, Marquette, or Portage, or are referred to the CHW Program by clinical case managers, primary care providers, social workers, social services organizations, or community members.
To be considered for CHW services, a patient must:
- Reside in Houghton County or Marquette County,
- Have five or more visits to an emergency room within a rolling 12-month period,
- And/or be diagnosed with one or more chronic conditions that could have been managed by a primary care provider.
How can CHWs help the community?
CHW programs are proven to help reduce visits to the Emergency Room for non-emergent care – reducing healthcare costs. Participation in the program is FREE to qualified patients. The CHWs can help:
- Connect patients to a primary care provider.
- Encourage patient communication with providers.
- Connect patients with resources available in their community.
- Help manage patients’ medical conditions and help set personal wellness goals.
Meet the CHWs at UP Health System
Community Health Worker, UP Health System – Marquette
Community Health Worker, UP Health System – Portage