The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) has received funding in a two-year grant from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to Address Health Disparities and Advance Health Equity Among Populations that are at High-Risk and Underserved. The funding is part of the federal COVID-19 response under the American Rescue Plan. The purpose of the COVID-19 Health Equity Grant (CHEG) is to address COVID-19 and advance health equity through strategies, interventions, and services that address systemic barriers and potentially discriminatory practices that have put certain groups at higher risk for diseases like COVID-19, specifically racial and ethnic minorities and rural communities. 

MORH/AHEC is pleased to share that funds are available to any healthcare or supporting organization to support the salary, benefits, and expenses of hiring/supporting Community Health Workers or Community Integrated Health (Community EMT or Paramedic) personnel. While the CDC funding for this project is scheduled through 5/31/2023, the DPHHS will request an extension if that is available. The DPHHS will notify stakeholders of new funding opportunities should they become available as well.

CHW & CIH Workforce Descriptions

Community Health Workers (CHW)

Community Integrated Health (CIH)

chw

CHWs are frontline health workers who perform a variety of duties at the paraprofessional level to engage, advocate, and educate community members in overall health and wellness. They are a liaison between health and social services and the community to facilitate access and improve health outcomes by increasing health knowledge and self-sufficiency. 

The primary role of these positions is to reach disproportionately affected populations with effective culturally tailored programs and practices for COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, isolating, vaccination, and healthcare strategies and disseminate scientifically accurate and culturally responsive information and facilitate access to health-related services. 

Learn more about CHWs here.

cih

CIHs, also known as Community Paramedics, are members of an emerging field in healthcare where emergency care providers operate in expanded roles to help connect underserved populations with underutilized resources. CIHs work with patients, care providers, and local services to address individual and community health needs. 

The primary role of these positions is to reach disproportionately affected populations with effective culturally tailored programs and practices for COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, isolating, vaccination, and healthcare strategies and disseminate scientifically accurate and culturally responsive information and facilitate access to health-related services.

Learn more about CIHs here.

 

CHW and CIHHiring, Funding, and Reporting

DPHHS is contracting with the Montana Office of Rural Health/Area Health Education Center at Montana State University (MORH/AHEC) and the Montana Health Network (MHN).

Hiring Process

The host organization is responsible for recruiting, hiring, and day-to-day supervision of the CHW or CIH.

Organizations may transition an existing employee to fit these roles.

The host organization contracts with MORH/AHEC or MHN to receive funding reimbursements. MORH/AHEC will provide materials and training. 

Provision of Funding

Host organizations will be able to hire the CHW or CIH through a reimbursement process; with funds for salary, benefits, supplies, and travel. 

Host organizations will work with MORH/AHEC and MHN for the salary, benefits, and expense reimbursements related to hiring the CHW or CIH.

Employee Management

The host organization will manage and supervise the activities of the CHW or CIH.

The host organization is responsible for employment functions including payroll, annual evaluations, benefits, workers' compensation coverage and liability. 

Organization Terms

Host organizations and their employees must adhere to requirements as outlined by MORH/AHEC and MHN for reporting, patient interactions, travel expenses, and training. 

MORH/AHEC and MHN will coordinate with the facility to collect data required. 

*If organizations require assistance with position hiring, MHN may serve as a staffing agency.

The maximum annual funding (1 FTE) for a CHW is $56,550 and for a CIH is $72,125. This amount is to cover salary, benefits, technology, travel, and indirect costs. Half of the designated CIH funding amount may be used to support training and operational supplies of non-salaried EMS staff (i.e. if you have a volunteer that you are interested in training to become a community paramedic, your organization may be eligible for up to $36,000). 

If you are interested in accessing these funds, we ask that you please complete the interest application linked below: 

 

If you indicate interest via the application, MORH/AHEC and Montana Health Network will follow up with you to coordinate the next steps based on the remaining funds available.

The following map shows the status of counties that have expressed interest in securing the CIH and CHW workforce funds as of June 1, 2022. 

map

 

Training will be provided/coordinated by MORH/AHEC for all newly hired CHW/CIH. They will complete the core 85 hour MT CHW curriculum or the Community Integrated Heath Curriculum through Hennepin College or Medstar/Weatherford College that are 16 weeks or 8 weeks, respectively.

Training can be completed after hiring as an on the job experience, and must be completed within 6 months of hiring date. The cost of training is covered by MORH/AHEC.

The CHWs and CIHs are also required to complete additional online modules on Health Equity, COVID-19, and Contact Tracing. The cost of training will be covered by MORH/AHEC.The purpose of these trainings is to provide additional information around systemic barriers and discriminatory practices that lead to poor health outcomes for minority groups. Groups that will specifically be discussed include: racial and ethnic minorities, rural communities, LGBTQ+, people with lower socioeconomic status, people with disabilities, religious minorities, and people 65 and older. The COVID-19 training includes a general overview of COVID-19, how to identify vaccine misinformation, vaccine hesitancy, and the intersection of COVID-19 and health equity.      

A supervisor must be designated for the CHW(s) and/or CIH(s). This supervisor is required to attend training through MORH/AHEC within 6 months of contract funding acceptance. 

The supervisor training will be offered at no charge. CHW supervisors will complete nationally recognized CHW supervisor training through MHP Salud. CIH supervisor training will be coordinated through DPHHS EMS leadership training. 

Two Regional Care Coordinators (RCCs) have been hired to provide technical support to the facilities participating in the CHEG grant program. The RCCs will provide guidance to host organizations on how to integrate CHWs and CIHs into the care team, to develop care coordination strategies that utilize CHWs and CIHs, and to provide ongoing workforce and supervisor support.  

The host facilities will receive the following assistance from the Regional Care Coordinators: 

  • Onsite and phone consultation with facilities hosting CHWs or CIHs 
  • Guidelines and templates for care coordination 
  • Scheduling regular cohort meetings among the partners to problem solve cases and scenarios 

 


This project is funded (in part or in whole) by grant number 1 NH75OT000080-01 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and from the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services.  The contents herein do not necessarily reflect the official views and policies of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services.

CDC: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC 24/7: Saving Lives. Protecting People TM