During the past decade, private insurers, business enterprises and the Federal government have implemented or proposed changes in health care delivery and financing. These payers were reacting to unprecedented increases in health-related expenditures amid hypercompetitive global markets. Simply, the cost of providing adequate health care to employees and the population at large had become very high.
Some viewed the community health worker (CHW) workforce as a component of cost-effective strategies addressing the health care needs of underserved communities. However, there was little rigorous, comprehensive research about the CHW workforce.
This report describes a comprehensive national study of the community health worker workforce and of the factors that affected its utilization and development.