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Practice Act

Provisions of Public Act 19-117

Community Health Worker

 

Sec. 160. (NEW) (Effective January 1, 2020) (a) As used in this section:

 

(1) "Community health worker" means a public health outreach professional with an in-depth understanding of the experience, language, culture and socioeconomic needs of the community and who provides a range of services, including, but not limited to, outreach, engagement, education, coaching, informal counseling, social support, advocacy, care coordination, research related to social determinants of health and basic screenings and assessments of any risks associated with social determinants of health;

 

(2) "Certified community health worker" means a community health worker certified by the Department of Public Health;

 

(3) "Commissioner" means the Commissioner of Public Health, or the commissioner's designee; and

 

(4) "Social determinants of health" means societal factors that contribute to a person's state of health.

 

(b) There is established within the Office of Health Strategy a Community Health Worker Advisory Body. Said body shall (1) advise said office and the Department of Public Health on matters relating to the educational and certification requirements for training programs for community health workers, including the minimum number of hours and internship requirements for certification of community health workers, (2) conduct a continuous review of such educational and certification programs, and (3) provide the department with a list of approved educational and certification programs for community health workers;

 

(c) The executive director of the Office of Health Strategy, or the executive director's designee, shall act as the chair of the Community Health Worker Advisory Body and shall appoint the following members to said body:

 

(1) Six members who are actively practicing as community health workers in the state;

 

(2) A member of the Community Health Workers Association of Connecticut;

 

(3) A representative of a community-based community health worker training organization;

 

(4) A representative of a regional community-technical college;

 

(5) An employer of community health workers;

 

(6) A representative of a health care organization that employs community health workers;

 

(7) A health care provider who works directly with community health workers; and

 

(8) The Commissioner of Public Health, or the commissioner's designee.

 

(d) On or after January 1, 2020, no person shall use the title "certified community health worker" unless certified by the Department of Public Health pursuant to subsection (e) this section.

 

(e) Each application for certification as a community health worker shall be in writing on forms prescribed by the Commissioner of Public Health, signed by the applicant and accompanied by a fee of one hundred dollars and satisfactory proof that such applicant meets the following requirements: (1) (A) Is trained and educated as a community health worker by an organization approved by the Community Health Worker Advisory Body pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, (B) is at least sixteen years of age, (C) submits a professional reference from an employer with direct knowledge of the applicant's experience as a community health worker and a reference from a member of the community with direct knowledge of the applicant's experience as a community health worker, and (D) has a minimum of one thousand hours of experience working as a community health worker during the three years prior to the date of such application; or

 

(2) (A) Has a minimum of two thousand hours of paid or unpaid experience as a community health worker, and (B) submits a professional reference from an employer with direct knowledge of the applicant's experience as a community health worker and a reference from a member of the community with direct knowledge of the applicant's experience as a community health worker.

 

(f) A certification issued under this section may be renewed every three years. The license shall be renewed in accordance with the provisions of section 19a-88 of the general statutes for a fee of one hundred dollars. Each certified community health worker applying for license renewal shall furnish evidence satisfactory to the commissioner of having completed a minimum of thirty hours of continuing education requirements, including two hours focused on cultural competency, systemic racism or systemic oppression and two hours focused on social determinants of health.

 

(g) The provisions of this section shall not apply to a community health worker who is providing services, including, but not limited to, outreach, engagement, education, coaching, informal counseling, social support, advocacy, care coordination, research related to social determinants of health and basic screenings and assessments of any risks associated with social determinants of health, provided such person does not hold himself or herself out to the public as a certified community health worker.

 

(h) The Commissioner of Public Health may take any disciplinary action set forth in section 19a-17 of the general statutes against a certified community health worker for failure to conform to the accepted standards of the profession including, but not limited to, any of the following reasons: (1) Fraud or deceit in obtaining or seeking reinstatement of a license to practice as a community health worker; (2) engaging in fraud or material deception in the course of professional services or activities; (3) negligent, incompetent or wrongful conduct in professional activities; (4) aiding or abetting the use of the title "certified community health worker by an individual who is not certified"; (5) physical, mental or emotional illness or disorder resulting in an inability to conform to the accepted standards of the profession; or (6) abuse or excessive use of drugs, including alcohol, narcotics or chemicals. The commissioner may order a license holder to submit to a reasonable physical or mental examination if his or her physical or mental capacity to practice safely is the subject of an investigation. The commissioner may petition the superior court for the judicial district of Hartford to enforce such order or any action taken pursuant to section 19a-17 of the general statutes. The commissioner shall give notice and an opportunity to be heard on any contemplated action under section 19a-17 of the general statutes.