URAC Launches Community Health Worker Accreditation Program

June 12, 2024
Accreditation includes standards across 10 areas, including client and employee diversity, equity and inclusion; workforce development; learning and development; scope of practice and peer support and quality management

Accreditation organization URAC has created a program to help organizations implement and maintain community health worker programs that improve patient outcomes and drive down healthcare costs.

Community health workers are playing an increasingly important role in addressing social determinants of health. They invest time by gaining a strong understanding of a patient’s journey, conducting home visits and providing ongoing support to build trust and rapport with individuals.   
CHW employment is expected to grow by 14% by 2032, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which is significantly higher than average growth across all fields. But hiring community health workers is still a relatively new endeavor for most health systems, and hospitals are working through how best to deploy them. For instance, Sinai Urban Health Institute (SUHI), the community-engaged research arm of safety net hospital Sinai Chicago, is evaluating the impact of its Community Health Worker Support Program in mitigating adverse social determinants of health and addressing inequities. 

By providing tools and validation for CHW programs working to improve outcomes, advance health equity and reduce costs, URAC said its new accreditation bolsters organizations' ability to meet diverse community needs.

The accreditation evaluates organizations rather than individuals and includes standards across 10 areas, including client and employee diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI); workforce development; learning and development; scope of practice and peer support and quality management. URAC added that the accreditation aligns with recent Centers for Disease Control (CDC) workforce initiatives to build accessible pathways to healthcare careers without requiring advanced degrees.

"This accreditation reflects our commitment to supporting community health workers and the organizations they serve," said Shawn Griffin, M.D., president and CEO of URAC, in a statement. "By embedding DEI and social determinants of health into the core of our standards, we are ensuring that community health worker programs can better meet the needs of both caregivers and patients."

A multi-stakeholder advisory committee informed this accreditation, with representatives from Federally Qualified Health Centers, community-based organizations, nonprofits, educational institutions and payers. Committee members collaborated to develop robust, relevant standards reflecting the various challenges that CHW programs face across the country.

 

Sponsored Recommendations

Enhancing Remote Radiology: How Zero Trust Access Revolutionizes Healthcare Connectivity

This content details how a cloud-enabled zero trust architecture ensures high performance, compliance, and scalability, overcoming the limitations of traditional VPN solutions...

Spotlight on Artificial Intelligence

Unlock the potential of AI in our latest series. Discover how AI is revolutionizing clinical decision support, improving workflow efficiency, and transforming medical documentation...

Beyond the VPN: Zero Trust Access for a Healthcare Hybrid Work Environment

This whitepaper explores how a cloud-enabled zero trust architecture ensures secure, least privileged access to applications, meeting regulatory requirements and enhancing user...

Enhancing Remote Radiology: How Zero Trust Access Revolutionizes Healthcare Connectivity

This content details how a cloud-enabled zero trust architecture ensures high performance, compliance, and scalability, overcoming the limitations of traditional VPN solutions...