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Community Health Worker Compensation

Community health workers (CHWs) may receive compensation for their services. Health departments, hospitals, healthcare organizations, and other entities that hire CHWs may pay them on an hourly basis or as a full-time employee with benefits. CHW programs typically base compensation on local wages for similar workers. Adequate compensation for CHWs will contribute to their recruitment and retention.

Some states also permit reimbursement for CHW services through Medicaid. These reimbursement models include, but are not limited to:

  • Payment for preventive healthcare recommended by a licensed healthcare professional
  • Direct reimbursement by designating CHWs as billable providers
  • A capitated model in which Medicaid pays a pre-specified amount to entities that employ CHWs
  • Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services (CMCS) funding for Medicaid operating costs applied to services provided by CHWs

Volunteer CHWs may be compensated for their participation through incentives such as gift certificates or reimbursement for travel. Some programs require CHWs to maintain an independent tracking log to record information such as the number of outreach visits and mileage per visit. That information is then used to determine the appropriate incentive or reimbursement.

Resources to Learn More

Community Health Workers: Financing and Administration
Document
Summarizes and explains the variety of funding opportunities available for CHW programs, and how these different funding sources can be used by programs.
Organization(s): National Health Care Council for the Homeless
Date: 8/2011

Funding Community Health Workers: Best Practices and the Way Forward
Document
Identifies initiatives and progress made by various states around the US related to funding mechanisms for CHW positions.
Author(s): Alvisurez, J., Clopper, B., Felix, C. , Gibson, C., & Harpe, J.
Organization(s): Yale School of Public Health, Southwestern Area Health Education Center (SWAHEC), Inc.
Date: 2013

Funding CHW Programs and Services in Minnesota: Looking to the Future
Document
Focus on funding and issue areas for community health worker programs and services in Minnesota.
Author(s): Dower, C., Knox, M., Lindler, V., & O'Neil, E.
Organization(s): National Fund for Medical Education, UCSF Center for Health Professions
Date: 2006

Guide to Funding Your Community Health Initiative
Document
Establishes the main steps to secure funding for a community health initiative, which are based on assessing needs, developing funding partnerships, and effectively applying for grant funding.
Organization(s): County Health Rankings, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Date: 3/2013

Community Health Workers (CHWs)
Website
Provides enrollment criteria, CHW services covered, billing information, and additional resources for reimbursement.
Organization(s): Minnesota Department of Health and Human Services