Kansas in one of a growing number of states who are recognizing the Community Health Worker profession through formalizing the certification process.
Strengths, Challenges, & Opportunities for Kansas Community Health Workers, supported by Wichita State University Community Engagement Institute and United Methodist Health Ministry Fund, found that integrating CHWs into care teams results in better and more appropriate access to health care, improves health outcomes, addresses gaps and equity issues in our fragmented health care system, and delivers strong return on investment at both the organization and systems levels.
The decision to move forward with the state-endorsed certification process is the result of workgroup recommendations within KS CHW Coalition with support from other stakeholders across the state, after much research, deliberation, and collaboration.
- 2016 the KS CHW Coalition established.
- Sustainability Committee formed to research certification options.
- 2019, an additional workgroup convened by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and United Methodist Health Ministry Fund, with support from the Health Forward Foundation, explored the role of Community Health Workers in Kansas, a certification process and sustainability issues, including Medicaid payment policy.
- Recommendations made to KDHE leadership and KS CHW Coalition.
- January of 2022, the KS CHW Coalition held a special session to review recommendations from the Sustainability Committee and the statewide advisory group.
- Coalition drafted a Certification Model.
- Draft sent to all Coalition members for comment.
- Full Coalition voted to adopt Amended Certification.
- April 4, 2022, Application for Certification open for applicants.
Applications are reviewed within three weeks of receipt in the Wichita State University Center for Public Health Initiatives (WSU CPHI) office on behalf of the Kansas CHW Coalition.
CHWs may apply if they meet the outlined criteria listed below.
1. High School Diploma or High School Equivalent. NOTE: Some exceptions are made for refugees, people who received their diploma in another country, and individuals who intend to serve high school-aged students. Please email us for more information if you wish to apply for an exception.
2. Applicants may apply for certification through one of two pathways, completion of a Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) approved CHW training or completion of work experience requirements. Please choose one option. Each are outlined here:
Education Pathway: Applicant must complete the KDHE approved CHW training program through the Kansas CHW Coalition or certified Kansas CHW education provider.
Work Experience Pathway: Applicant must complete 800 hours over three years plus three letters of recommendation to document work and/or volunteer experience.
Any follow-up must be with the WSU office; if it has been more than three weeks since the postmark date. Please email us or call 316-978-5855.
Certification will be active for two years. Renewal will be required every two years.
It is the responsibility of the employer to conduct all background and registry checks. No background or registry checks will be conducted by KCHWC or WSU CPHI.
According to the KCHWC policies and procedures, the following rules apply to those seeking a Kansas CHW certification.
No background check, mental health check or employee disqualification check will be completed as part of this application. Employers will need to complete any required database checks for exclusion from participation in federal programs.
If an individual has applied for and been given an exception from the Kansas CHW Coalition on proof of education, the individual may apply for a Kansas CHW certification. Please send in proof of exception with your application.
If an individual was denied an exception from the Kansas CHW Coalition and would still like to be certified, the individual may apply for an appeal directly to the Kansas CHW Coalition review committee.
he Kansas Community Health Worker Coalition (KCHWC) will maintain a registry of the Kansas Community Health Workers applying for certification, have been granted certification, and have been denied certification. All documents submitted will be maintained by KCHWC and are the property of KCHWC after submission. KCHWC will maintain confidentiality of all applicants.
- Applicants will be required to complete 20 contact-hours (a.k.a. credit hours) of Continuing Education Units (CEUs) every two years. These hours must be aligned with the Kansas CHW Scope of Practice and/or core competencies as outlined here.
- After the applicant has completed the certification application and it has been reviewed and approved, the certified CHW will receive the full list of requirements and guidelines on available CEU opportunities. Many CEU opportunities will be provided through KCHWC webinars, modules, education, etc. and through KCHWC partners. In addition, certificates of completion from outside sources will be accepted. One contact hour is equivalent to one credit hour.
- Of the 20 CEUs required, six hours of ethics and Health Information Privacy and Accountability Act (HIPPA) training are required every two years. Both ethics and HIPAA trainings are required every two years.
- No more than 10 hours in one specific core competency will be allowed.