Department of Health
Governor Susana Martinez recently announced a proposal to create a statewide training and voluntary certification program for community health workers. It’s part of her economic development proposal for the 2014 legislative session, which includes increasing New Mexico’s health care workforce.
Community health workers, often referred to as promotoras and community health representatives (CHR) in Tribal communities, play a critical role in helping New Mexicans address health care needs, including chronic diseases and other health problems.
There are estimated to be between 800 and 900 community health workers in New Mexico. Many of them work in rural and underserved areas, where there is often limited access to health care. Research shows that the work community health workers perform reduces health care costs, increases access to care and improves health status.
Under Governor Martinez’ proposal, some services provided by community health workers would be eligible for reimbursements from Medicaid. Community health worker certification would be administered through the New Mexico Department of Health.