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State Senator

Marilyn Moore

Representing Bridgeport, Monroe & Trumbull

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Moore Supports Senate Passage of Bill Recognizing the Work of Community Health Workers

Supporting Our Community Health Workers

"Because community health care workers are part of the communities they serve, they’re able to reach men, women, and children that we don’t have access to otherwise, especially in communities of color. Their role cannot be understated and it’s important they get the support they need." - Senator Marilyn Moore

Posted by CT Senate Democrats on Thursday, May 25, 2017

Senator Marilyn Moore (D-Bridgeport) today supported Senate passage of legislation ensuring Connecticut’s community health workers (CHW) get the recognition they deserve by establishing in statute a definition for CHW and their roles and responsibilities.

“Community health workers are a vital piece of the overall well-being of our cities and towns. Because they are part of the community where they serve, they’re able to reach men, women, and children we usually don’t have access to, especially in communities of color,” Sen. Moore said. “I think it’s really important during these times, that we have people who can reach the community to educate people about health risks and be the health navigators. Their role cannot be understated and it’s important they get the support they need.”

Community health workers are a vital part of the effort to eliminate health disparities in Connecticut. CHW are trusted members of their community, with a unique understanding of the experience, language, culture and socioeconomic needs of the people they serve. This understanding makes them highly effective at reaching underrepresented communities and ensuring that the people who live there receive the care they need. CHW help bridge cultural and socioeconomic gaps between caregivers and their patients. This has been shown to result in expanded access to services, more follow-up appointments and better health outcomes.

Establishing a statutory definition of CHW is needed to officially clarify their role and the scope of their practice, as well as the process by which a person can be certified and recognized as competent in their field. This will help develop the profession, increase the number of CHW and further integrate them into Connecticut’s public health system.

Senate Bill 126 defines a community health worker as a public health outreach professional with an in-depth understanding of the experience, language, culture and socioeconomic needs of the community who:

  1. Serves as a liaison between individuals within the community and health care and social services providers to facilitate access to such services and health-related resources, improve the quality and cultural competence of the delivery of such services and address social determinants of health with a goal toward reducing racial, ethnic, gender and socioeconomic disparities, and
  2. Increases health knowledge and self-sufficiency through a range of services including outreach, engagement, education, coaching, informal counseling, social support, advocacy, care coordination, research related to social determinants of health and basic screenings and assessments of any risks associated with social determinants of health.

Now that SB 126 has passed in the Senate, it moves to the House of Representatives for further consideration.

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