HB5412, a bill that formally recognizes Community Health Workers (CHWs) as an integral part of our healthcare teams, passed both houses of the Illinois legislature today. HB5412
adopts the American Public Health Association’s definition of a CHW, and establishes an advisory board to provide recommendations and consider essential core competencies. HB5412 was originally introduced by State Representative of the 18th district Robyn Gabel, and was first sponsored in the Senate by Senator David Koehler of the 46th disctrict. Health & Medicine, along with other key stakeholders, such as the Chicago CHW Local Network, the governor’s office, and the Illinois Department of Public Health, helped draft and garner support for this important legislation, the first of its kind in Illinois.
Integration of CHW services within health care delivery systems is linked to reductions in chronic illness, increased medication adherence, increased patient participation, enhanced overall community health, and reduced health care costs. HB5412 is a vital first step to acknowledging the important contributions of this emerging healthcare workforce.