A Cost Analysis of a Community Health Worker Program in Rural Vermont
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Studies have shown that community health workers (CHWs) can improve the effectiveness of health care systems; however, little has been reported about CHW program costs. We examined the costs of a program staffed by three CHWs associated with a small, rural hospital in Vermont. We used a standardized data collection tool to compile cost information from administrative data and personal interviews. We analyzed personnel and operational costs from October 2010 to September 2011. The estimated total program cost was $420,348, a figure comprised of $281,063 (67 %) for personnel and $139,285 (33 %) for operations. CHW salaries and office space were the major cost components. Our cost analysis approach may be adapted by others to conduct cost analyses of their CHW program. Our cost estimates can help inform future economic studies of CHW programs and resource allocation decisions.
KeywordsCommunity health worker Program cost Health care system
The authors thank the members of the NVRH Community Connections team, all of whom made invaluable contributions to the data collection process used in this study: Pamela Smart, Stephen Kline, Constance S. Sandahl, and Shauna Barrett. The authors also thank Dr. Nell Brownstein for her subject matter expertise in the development of this paper. This study was funded by CDC Task Order No: 0020 for Contract No. 200-2008-27957.
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