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Informing Policy. Advancing Health.

2012 Colorado Health Report Card: A Healthy Workforce Keeps Colorado Competitive

Question: What was the top trending Twitter hashtag in Denver Thursday afternoon?

  1. #MarchMadness
  2. #SpringBreak2013
  3. #COHRC

It might surprise you, but #COHRC – the hashtag for Colorado Health Report Card – is the correct answer.

Nearly 200 stakeholders, policymakers and community members gathered for the public launch of the seventh Colorado Health Report Card, an annual report released by the Colorado Health Foundation and the Colorado Health Institute. The Report Card analyzes Colorado’s progress toward reaching the goal of becoming the healthiest state in the nation.

You can view the grades for the 2012 Report Card, which tracks 38 key indicators across five life stages, on the website.

Colorado continues to impress when it comes to healthy living.  Adults and seniors both rank best in the country for exercise. Colorado adolescents rank fourth for exercise and nutrition. Coloradans tend to start active and stay active as they age.

However, when it comes to health care access and insurance coverage, Colorado has room to improve. Colorado ranks 42nd in the nation for uninsured children, 38th for uninsured adolescents and 27th for uninsured adults. Despite the work being done to ensure that Colorado’s most vulnerable citizens have a medical home, Colorado still ranks in the bottom half for rates of children, adults and seniors who have one or more individuals they think of as their personal doctor or health care provider – a proxy for having a medical home.

So how does Colorado move the needle on some of these important health issues?

Kelly Brough, president and CEO of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, told those attending the launch that health is a top priority for the Chamber because it helps to build the foundation for a healthy economy.

This year’s Colorado Health Report Card Supplement, Keeping Colorado Competitive: Roadmap to a Healthier, More Productive Workforce, estimates the potential cost savings for employers if Colorado improved on various health indicators. Guided by the question ‘What if We Were No. 1?’ the Colorado Health Institute estimated savings for employers and employees if Colorado were ranked No. 1 on several indicators.

For example, if Colorado were No. 1 for the lowest rate of depression, employees and employers could save an estimated $121 million annually in health care costs.

The findings reinforce Brough’s message: Health and the economy are inextricably linked.