Long discussed, the concept of community health workers has rarely been evaluated in a formal way in terms of its potential effectiveness in communities. Now, a team of healthcare researchers has executed a study on the subject, which was published in the February issue of Health Affairs. The published article, entitled “Evidence-Based Community Health Worker Program Addresses Unmet Social Needs And Generates Positive Return on Investment,” was written by Shreya Kangovi, Nandita Mitra, David Grade, Judith A. Long, and David A. Asch.
“Interventions that address socioeconomic determinants of health are receiving considerable attention from policy makers and health care executives,” the researchers write. “The interest is fueled in part by expected returns on investment. However, many current estimates of returns on investment are likely overestimated, because they are based on pre-post study designs that are susceptible to regression to the mean. We present a return-on-investment analysis that is based on a randomized controlled trial of Individualized Management for Patient-Centered Targets (IMPaCT), a standardized community health worker intervention that addresses unmet social needs for disadvantaged people. We found that every dollar invested in the intervention would return $2.47 to an average Medicaid payer within the fiscal year.”