South Florida Hospital News
Friday December 6, 2019
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July 2019 - Volume 16 - Issue 1

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Palm Beach County Medical Society Helps Fill a Growing Need for Community Health Workers

Patient Navigator for Palm Beach County HealthCare District Michaëlle Schütt-Ainé is among more than 100 people who have completed Care Coordination Training through the Palm Beach County Medical Society (PBCMS). She is a Certified Community Health Worker (CCHW), an emerging occupation in the health care industry and one of the state’s top six evolving health care occupations, according to a recent report prepared by the Florida Center for Nursing. These individuals serve as a critical link between a patient’s clinical health and social services providers and the community.

The 30-hour training, says Schütt-Ainé, has benefited her career as well as the patients she serves. Following completion of the course, she was promoted to a management role, where she supervises a group of eight other Patient Navigators.
 
“Motivational interviewing training, for example, has truly been effective with many of my patients,” Schütt-Ainé said. “With this skill, we are able to listen attentively to patients, concentrate on the important matters, and ask the open-ended questions necessary to lead them to their personal goals. When we accomplish those goals, it’s truly rewarding– their smiles are priceless.”
 
Community Health Workers, according to Chair of the Care Coordination Initiative, Jose F Arrascue, M.D., are trusted members of the community who patients feel comfortable going to for non-clinical support such as access to medications, transportation, healthy living or eating guidance.
 
“This area of health care is evolving in Florida but has proven to be successful in other areas of the country. The course we offer provides the required training hours as part of the state’s certification process.” PBCMSS is a certified education provider for Florida Certification Board, Florida Certification Board Provider number 5284-A.
 
Dr. Arrascue added that more than one third of the courses focused on communications skills that help the workers gain a comfort level from patients that leads to less stress and better care outcomes. Students also cover 10 separate topics, such as the background on the U.S. health care delivery system, ways to help identify and prevent health risk factors, how to be more culturally sensitive, understanding patient privacy and effectively working in teams.
 
“The training prepares individuals to provide patient-centered support that improves the health of high-risk people, many dealing with chronic conditions,” Arrascue said. “The ultimate goal is to achieve greater care plan adherence, improved health care experiences and lower care costs.”
 
The PBCMS CHW Care Coordination Training is fully funded by a federal grant provided through CareerSource Palm Beach County, the local workforce development board chartered by the State of Florida to provide training and recruitment services for Palm Beach County businesses and residents.
 
“Programs like this one offered by the Medical Society help us fulfill our mission of matching qualified workers with employers that need specific training,” Judy Dunn said, the Director of Business Services at CareerSource Palm Beach County. “We are proud to support a training program that will help improve health care delivery to the people of Florida.”

Training participants must be at least 18 years old and have a high school degree. Past graduates have been employed by or found positions with both for-profit and non-profit organizations, including Medical Specialists of the Palm Beaches; Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies; and the Health Care District of Palm Beach County. For more information about this training program, contact Karen Harwood, Program Director at (561) 433-3940, ext. 119 or karenh@pbcms.org.

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