Meeting people where they are and bringing accessible health care to our communities is a goal we’ve set at Monument Health. In addition to providing free and reduced-cost health screenings to achieve this goal, we have recently launched a pilot program for Community Health Workers, hiring three in the Rapid City market, and one in Spearfish.
This is a grant-funded program sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) through the South Dakota Department of Health. To be a Community Health Worker (CHW) in this program, our caregivers had to complete a certification class through Lake Area Technical College.
The main purpose of the CHW is to mitigate some of the social determinants of health gaps. To get there, the CHW will partner with our Ambulatory Case Managers in primary care at the Rapid City Clinic on Flormann Street and the Family Medicine Residency Clinic to identify patients who would benefit from the involvement of a Community Health Worker.
“What’s so exciting about this approach is that Community Health Workers meet the patients where they are. It could be their home, the homeless shelter or wherever,” said Shelly Roy, Associate CNO of Nursing Professional Practice, who implemented the CHW program at Monument Health. “By going to them, we’re able to learn more about them and develop a relationship to help them get what they need on their health care journey. It could be helping the patient gain access to healthy food at a food bank, making sure the patient is able to apply for Medicaid or enrolling them in classes to engage in healthy living education.
This program strengthens our commitment to our communities and relationships with other nonprofit organizations in the region. This helps us work together to create a healthier and stronger Black Hills.
As we work within our communities we hope to see fewer trips to the Emergency Department and more preventative and maintenance care for diseases like diabetes, hypertension and mental health.