MedNetOne Health Solutions and Practice Transformation Institute partner to train, elevate community health worker role in Michigan 

Program uses grass roots approach to boost community health, counter social determinant of health obstacles; second cohort class begins training this month   

Media Contact: Barbara Fornasiero, EAFocus Communications, barbara@eafocus.com; 248.260.8466 

Rochester, Mich. – September 12, 2023 – MedNetOne Health Solutions (MedNetOne)—a health care management and physician organization offering infrastructure, technology, and clinical services to nearly 1,000 private practice physicians and other independent care providers—has partnered with its nonprofit learning organization, Practice Transformation Institute, to train and educate community health workers (CHW) using an in-person and virtual curriculum.    

CHWs are members of the public health workforce who connect individuals with resources, advocate for communities of all socioeconomic backgrounds – but especially those impacted by the social determinants of health (#SDOH) – and serve as a conduit between the community and the many facets of the healthcare system.  

“With decades-old roots in public and community health, it took a pandemic to truly recognize the value of the community health worker role in connecting community with clinician. The CHW role can be the missing link between data and action. We have an endless supply of health data but not enough boots on the ground to effect change at the grass roots level,” MedNetOne CEO Ewa Matuszewski said. “The CHW, as a layperson, can look at healthcare situations differently than licensed clinicians by using their community-focused training to address the non-clinical aspects of the matter.”  

The Michigan Department of Health & Human Services (MDHHS) has a recommended 166-hour requirement (which includes an internship) to receive a CHW certificate, but Practice Transformation Institute (PTI) an IACET-accredited experiential learning programs for primary care transformation initiatives, created a more robust curriculum that also meets the national C3 Project that provides guidance for improving CHW practice and policy. The first cohort of 46 CHWs graduated in May 2023 from the PTI program and two at-capacity cohorts of 16 students each are slated to begin training the third week of September.  Training includes: 

  • Introduction to community health. 
  • Introduction to chronic conditions.  
  • Recognizing the social determinants of health and their immediate impact on health and quality of life. 
  • The basics of health assessments, including blood pressure screenings and depression/anxiety screening.   
  • How to perform initial home visits to assess #SDOH; e.g., is the home accessible inside and out? Is there fresh food available or are the few refrigerated remnants inedible? Is transportation available for grocery shopping, socialization or doctor visits?  
  • Gaining a deep understanding of available community resources to address important health matters with solution-oriented follow-up.    

The basic requirements to become a CHW are 18 years of age or older with a high school diploma or equivalent.  The CHW role welcomes all – immigrants with knowledge of navigating the system as a native speaker, the differently-abled who can assess how various physical or emotional challenges are impacting their assigned population, and those familiar with health equity. However, CHWs are not restricted to low-income areas. In general, most physicians or Advanced Practice Providers, regardless of location, have only passing knowledge of the multitude of resources available at no or low-cost to area residents.  

CHW services are increasingly – but not universally – reimbursable by health insurers.  

“It’s happening slowly, but many insurers are beginning to recognize the community health worker as a must-have care team member for an efficient connector between clinician and community,” Matuszewski said. “As that happens, more human service agencies will team up with physician organizations and other healthcare entities in order to deploy CHWs to their constituents.”  

With the current shortage of healthcare workers in all disciplines, there’s an immediate need to grow the ranks of community health workers. The September cohort classes are now filled. To receive information or to join future cohorts, contact PTI Director of Operations Harmony Kinkel at kinkle@transformcoach.org. To access PTI’s ‘Session Zero’ webinar introducing the roles and responsibilities of the CHW, go to YouTube.   

About Practice Transformation Institute (PTI) 

Established in 2007, nonprofit Practice Transformation Institute is Michigan’s leading provider of CME and IACET-accredited experiential learning programs for the patient-centered medical home (PCMH), advanced primary care and other primary care transformation initiatives. To learn more about Practice Transformation Institute, please visit www.transformcoach.org

About MedNetOne Health Solutions (MedNetOne) 

Based in Rochester, Mich., MedNetOne Health Solutions is a physician organization supporting its independent practice members with the infrastructure, technology and clinical support necessary to provide fully integrated, population-based, patient-centric care. Committed to community-based care and coordinated care through multi-disciplinary teams, MedNetOne collaborates with payors, nonprofits and community groups to develop and implement primary care initiatives that address preventive care, chronic conditions and the social determinants of health and positively impact health outcomes. Learn more here