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Informing Policy. Advancing Health.

It Takes a Village to Raise . . . A Colorado Health Care Innovation Plan

Wednesday was a big day for Colorado’s health care community, particularly those who are working to make our health care system work better. Nearly 150 “movers and shakers” came together to kick off work on a health care innovation plan for Colorado.

This is being funded by a State Innovation Model (SIM) grant. But let’s back up a bit: You may be wondering why all of these folks gathered in the first place. After all, didn’t the state just submit a SIM grant?

The answer is yes. Colorado submitted its grant last year and learned in March that it had received $2 million from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) specifically to refine Colorado’s plan. This wasn’t the “gold” medal award that went to six states to begin testing new models of care. Instead, Colorado’s “silver” means that CMMI likes what Colorado has done so far, but wants the state to do more work around new ways to deliver and pay for health care.

The stakeholder advisory group that met Wednesday will help Colorado incorporate into its plan such important concepts as:

  • Integrating mental health and substance abuse care into primary care.
  • Structuring payments to best support all of those involved, including payers, providers and patients.
  • Caring for such high-needs populations as the homeless.
  • Updating the state’s health care workforce to meet the new needs.
  • Ensuring coordination between community health and clinical care. 

The presentation boasted an impressive line-up of speakers: Sue Birch, executive director of the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing; Lorez Meinhold, deputy executive director of the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing; Dr. Benjamin F. Miller, director of the Office of Integrated Healthcare Research and Policy at the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine; Edie Sonn, vice president of strategic initiatives at the Center for Improving Value in Health Care (CIVHC); and CHI’s own Michele Lueck, our president and CEO.

Work on the plan started immediately, with exchanges of ideas, concerns and suggested starting points. Issues brought up by the stakeholders included:

  • A need to measure progress with relevant metrics.
  • A need to encourage input and support from Coloradans across the state and throughout the spectrum of health care.
  • Techniques to incorporate supporting systems such as education, transportation, housing and child care, into new policies.

To download the presentation slides given at the event, or to view the resources distributed to attendees, click here.

Over the next few months, this website will be updated with resources and ways to contribute to the conversation. We look forward to hearing from you.

As Sue Birch noted, it is the time for Colorado to “seize our moment.”