Health coaches are clinical support staff members who provide practice-level care coordination and patient engagement services to the patient population. The title and role is anticipated to grow as a result of the Affordable Care Act and New York State Medicaid Redesign’s focus on population health and chronic disease management.
To meet this growing demand, NYACH, Kingsborough Community College’s (KCC) Community Health degree program, and Community Care of Brooklyn (CCB)–the Maimonides led Performing Provider System (PPS) under DSRIP–developed and launched a health coach training program in the summer of 2016. This program prepares experienced medical assistants (or the equivalent) or newly hired health coaches to excel in the position. The curriculum was developed by KCC and Audrey Lum from Union Health Center, with ongoing input and feedback from CCB. The curriculum focuses on new models of care, communication and patient engagement techniques, cultural competency, stages of behavior change, patient education, in addition to chronic disease, wellness, and prevention. The program also includes a practicum in which supervisors conduct classroom observations and assess role play activities.
This 60 hour certificate program took an existing 3 credit course that is part of the AS Degree in Community Health and updated and contextualized it for the health coach role. It was then paired with a newly created course around important emerging skills needed for today’s healthcare workforce called Patient Engagement and Health Coaching Techniques. This second course was recently approved at KCC for 3 credits and will be included in the 2017 academic course catalog. Paired together in this continuing education certificate program, students can now take the certificate program as non-matriculated students for a total of 6 credits that are transferable and appear on a transcript. The program is part of a longer-term KCC strategy to create stackable credit bearing models to the Associate of Science degree in Community Health.
This new course curriculum trains for critical skills that are applicable for other “emerging occupations” with common core competencies, such as care coordinators and care navigators. This training is part of a NYACH and CUNY partnership to pilot new curricula and program models and share across schools to meet industry and workforce demand. Due to the success of the first two cohorts, classes of the Health Coach certificate program are continuing to be funded by the CCB PPS.