News > Low Tech/High Touch Methods That Close Care Gaps

Low Tech/High Touch Methods That Close Care Gaps

 

There are lots of challenges to connecting low income populations with the services they need to get and stay healthy.  You can lead a horse to water, right?  So, how do we get people to the right services, at the right time, in the right place, and get them to use them?

The approach providers of Medicaid services often take is to set up a call center, which phones clients, reminding them of appointments they need to make and services they need to connect with. Did you know that for every 100 “care gap” calls made to members not in case management, an average of 30 members will answer and hear your message?  Of that total, about 15 will follow through on steps they need to take.  That’s a 15% success rate.

One way to understand why it can be so hard to get the poor connected to services is to think of these populations as having big to-do lists on their minds, all the time.  On that list are all the basic needs – food, health, money, safety, love – each vying for importance. Thinking about how to fulfill these needs becomes so overwhelming, it’s hard to focus on one over the other, in terms of priority.

An alternative to care gap calls is to send a community health worker into our neighborhoods to visit recipients of Medicaid services, help them set priorities, and get the services they need. It’s a low tech, high touch method of connecting with people that is based on regular, consistent contact from individuals with community roots. These are professionally trained, culturally savvy field teams. They’re grassroots communicators who develop one-to-one relationships with their clients and agency leaders. Through evidence-based interventions, they deliver positive outcomes that align with your HEDIS and NCQA strategic plan.

Here are some things that community health workers know:

  • Low income is not synonymous with low intellect.
  • Poverty is not always the result of a character defect. It’s a scarcity of money, for many reasons.
  • Scarcity drives decisions people make, and often drives poor choices.

Because community health workers understand the social determinants in their communities, they know how to build trust, motivate, incentivize, close gaps, and get results.  And the result is better health outcomes and programs that meet the needs of the target populations – it’s population health management that works because it’s relationship-centered care.

Click the video to hear how Dasher can develop a CHW outreach plan for you.

To learn more about Community Health Workers, visit any of these links below:

The website is for Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services
http://dhhs.ne.gov/publichealth/HealthNavigation/Pages/Home.aspx

 

 

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