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Local woman named to statewide Community Health Worker Advisory Board

Illinois Department of Public Health recently announced the appointment of a 15-member Illinois Community Health Worker Advisory Board.

The members include Geraldine Hardy, of Fairview Heights, an outreach worker for the Southern Illinois Healthcare Foundation’s Healthy Start Program. She has been employed by SIHF for 11 years. Her primary responsibility is providing Medicaid/All Kids eligibility assessment and enrollment assistance. She is also a licensed navigator for the ACA/Health Insurance Marketplace.

She is the only representative from Metro East.

The advisory board members were selected by Gov. Pat Quinn, and the board is intended to advise the governor, IDPH and the legislature on all matters impacting the effective work of community health workers across the state, including the training and certification processes.

Signed into law in August of 2014, the CHW Advisory Board is composed of eight CHWs from across the state. The remaining seven members consist of individuals representing healthcare and social services, health workforce policy and institutions of higher education.

Within a year of its first meeting, the CHW Advisory Board will develop a report with its recommendations regarding the certification process of community health workers, best practices and reimbursement options. The report will also include proposed curriculums, ensuring that the content, methodology, development and delivery are appropriately based on cultural and geographic needs and reflect relevant responsibilities for CHWs.

Illinois falls well below the national median in its use of non-physician providers. If workforce shortages are not addressed, it could limit access to services and quality health care for all Illinoisans, the department said.

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