Date of Award

2013

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Health Administration (M.H.A.)

Department

School of Public, Nonprofit and Health Administration

First Advisor

Greg Cline

Second Advisor

Cynthia Coviak

Third Advisor

Lara Jaskiewicz

Abstract

The purpose of this case study was to investigate the effects of community health workers (CHWs) on at-risk pregnant women in Muskegon County through a cost-benefit analysis. CHWs are selected, trained and working in the communities from which they live. The role of the community health worker is extremely diverse, usually due to the communities and programs that they serve. Their purpose is to improve health outcomes in the communities they serve by increasing access to and coverage to basic health services and needs, notably for underserved and medically needy populations. Previous studies have showed that CHWs have a positive effect on the healthcare system and overall health outcome for the population.

However, there are limited studies available that specifically analyze the effects of CHWs in a cost-benefit analysis to measure the outcomes created, especially for CHWs targeting at-risk pregnant women. To assess the effectiveness of such a program, program data from The Pregnancy Pathways Pilot Program, which is operated by the Muskegon Community Health Project, and claims data from Mercy Health Partners were used to calculate the estimates of potential health benefits and cost-savings.

The Muskegon Area Pregnancy Pathways Pilot Project appears to have been successful in preventing the occurrences of low weight births for the 7 program participants. All 7 newborns fell within the acceptable standard of 2500 – 4500 grams. Of the 7 newborns, 6 of them were considered to be healthy but one was considered to have problems. When the total costs of the clients‘ normal newborns from the 2500 – 4500 grams group were compared to neonates with problems with a low birth weight delivered by non-program mothers, there was an average savings of $337.75 per participant in this study.

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