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Informing Policy. Advancing Health.

All Hands on Deck for Health Care Reform

“If we’re going to do this, it’s going to require all hands on deck.” That’s what Governor Hickenlooper said last week when he unveiled his plan to make Colorado the healthiest state.

(For a discussion of the plan, read the Colorado Health Institute’s analysis.)

The same can be said for implementing the Affordable Care Act.  With full implementation rapidly approaching, health care providers, employers, insurers and individuals are trying to understand what will change, what those changes will look like, and how they are involved and effected. State and local public health partners are asking these questions as well.

 In April, the Colorado School of Public Health’s Center for Public Health Practice convened a symposium to discuss the role of public health in implementing the Affordable Care Act and what public health leaders can do, and are already doing, to prepare for the coming changes.

The discussion focused on:

  • Examples from various communities across Colorado, including Boulder and the San Juan Basin;
  • Strategies for public health to partner across the continuum of health services – from medical care to social services;
  • Suggestions from symposium participants for prioritizing activities to strengthen public health and support federal health reform.

This discussion couldn’t have been timelier. Governor Hickenlooper signed the Medicaid expansion into law this week, and the Colorado health exchange has launched a new website – ConnectforHealthColorado.com. Along with information about health insurance, it features a countdown to coverage that starts on January 1, 2014.

A summary of the symposium, which was produced by the Colorado Health Institute in partnership with the Center for Public Health Practice, contains highlights of the discussion. You can find more information about the symposium, including a list of planning committee members, the agenda and the slides presented, here.

So it is all hands on deck – public health included.