Improving community connections to health and social services contributes to improved health outcomes. Utilizing community health workers (CHWs) to navigate services adds value and reduces cost and workforce burden. In the past year, the South Dakota Foundation for Medical Care team has contributed to the expansion of the CHW network within health care and community organizations across the state.
“As a healthcare professional, if you have not already heard of a community health worker (CHW), you will soon. CHWs may be a new and developing profession in South Dakota, but they are quickly playing an integral role in expanding community access to health care.”Stephanie Powers, MPA, South Dakota Foundation for Medical Care
SDFMC CHW Team
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Health Disparities Grant funding received by the South Dakota Department of Health (DOH) in June of 2021 led to the launch of the Community Health Worker Collaborative of South Dakota (CHWSD). Passionate about the CHW profession, Community Outreach Coordinator Ben Tiensvold inspired action, which resulted in over 120 CHWs completing training and beginning work in clinics, hospitals, and community-based organizations across the state.
Often working within interdisciplinary teams of health care professionals, including medical providers, nurses, and social workers, CHWs contribute to quality of care and help reduce health disparities. This value is recognized in South Dakota, which one of a limited number of states offering Medicaid reimbursement for CHW services. This reimbursement, along with funding from the South Dakota Department of Health, has allowed the CHW workforce to quickly grow and develop across South Dakota.
Register for the Growing, Developing, and Sustaining the Community Health Worker Workforce, hosted by the Great Plains Quality Innovation Network, to learn more about the value and benefits of CHWs for better patient outcomes.
Growing, Developing, and Sustaining the Community Health Worker Workforce
March 28, 2023 | 3:00 – 4:00 PM CT
Ben Tiensvold, Community Outreach Coordinator
Community Health Worker Collaborative of South Dakota
Tiensvold will explain how CHWs bridge the gap between communities and the health and social services systems and how Medicaid reimbursement can help to sustain these developing positions.