LOS ANGELES – L.A. Care Health Plan, the largest publicly operated health plan in the country, has committed $400,000 to train another 20 Community Health Workers (CHW) who will help L.A. Care members navigate the various medical and social services that will ultimately help improve health outcomes. The funding will also be used for an evaluation of the program, which has already trained 47 CHWs in two previous commitments, bringing the total commitment to date to nearly $1.3 million. The Community Health Worker Training Program is one program in Elevating the Safety Net, L.A. Care’s $155 million, five-year initiative launched in 2018 to address a growing physician shortage.
“The use of community health workers is an important strategy in helping to address the growing shortage of doctors and nurses in already underserved communities,” said John Baackes, L.A. Care CEO. “These workers can help our members address social needs that impact health, but which physicians just don’t have time to address.”
L.A. Care has partnered with Loma Linda University to provide the nine-week training course virtually, which started this week.
“Community health workers are laypeople who usually share culture, language and life experiences with the community members that they serve,” said Lily Lee, DrPH, the Director of CHW/Promotores Academy and San Miguel Gateway College at Loma Linda University. “That shared experience helps CHW/Ps build trusting relationships with patients, allowing them to work as an integral member of their health and social care teams. The intensive training utilizes CHW-engaged strategies to strengthen CHW/Ps capacities to address barriers and connect people to existing resources in the community.”
Two of the CHW trainees will work directly for L.A. Care and 18 will work for community-based care management entities (CB-CMEs) helping to implement the Health Homes Program.
“Health Homes is a state program designed to serve Medi-Cal beneficiaries with complex medical needs who can benefit from enhanced care management,” said Mary Zavala, L.A. Care’s Director of Health Homes Programs. “Integrating CHWs into care teams has proven to be a best practice to improve social and health outcomes.”
Other programs in Elevating the Safety Net include the Provider Recruitment Program, the Provider Loan Repayment Program, the Scholarship Program, the Residency Support Program, and the IHHS+ Home Care Training Program.
About L.A. Care Health Plan
L.A. Care Health Plan serves more than 2.3 million members in Los Angeles County, making it the largest publicly operated health plan in the country. L.A. Care offers four health coverage plans including Medi-Cal, L.A. Care Covered™, L.A. Care Cal MediConnect Plan and the PASC-SEIU Homecare Workers Health Care Plan, all dedicated to being accountable and responsive to members. As a public entity, L.A. Care’s mission is to provide access to quality health care for L.A. County's low-income communities, and to support the safety net required to achieve that purpose. L.A. Care prioritizes quality, access and inclusion, elevating health care for all of L.A. County. For more information, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.