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New Health Care Workforce Study Being Released

The full team is back in town with lots of new knowledge to inform our work following travels to the East Coast and southwestern Colorado. And it’s going to be quite a week.

Tomorrow, we will release our latest study, Colorado’s Primary Care Workforce: A Study of Regional Disparities.

The study’s author, Senior Analyst Rebecca Alderfer, is scheduled to appear on Colorado Public Radio’s “Colorado Matters” program. At noon, more than 30 policy makers and health care experts will be here at CHI to learn about the study and listen to four panelists – Steve Holloway, Director of the Primary Care Office in the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment; Ruth Benton, CEO of New West Physicians; Ross Brooks, CEO of Mountain Family Health Centers; and Dr. Bill Wright, President and Executive Medical Director of Colorado Permanente Medical Group – talk about their on-the-ground experiences.

Finally, we are presenting the study’s findings to lawmakers during a special legislative briefing at 4 p.m. at the capitol.

This new information will be valuable as Colorado plans how to educate, attract and retain an adequate primary care workforce to provide care for all Coloradans, including those who are gaining health insurance under the Affordable Care Act and other policy changes.

A number of staff members have been immersed in analyzing the demographic characteristics of Coloradans who are eligible for Medicaid or Child Health Plan Plus but aren’t enrolled. They’ve also been looking at those Coloradans who are eligible for tax credits when they buy health insurance through Connect for Health Colorado, the state’s insurance marketplace. Stay tuned for those results.

Meanwhile, back to that East Coast trip. We are pleased to report that Jeff Bontrager, Director of Research on Coverage and Access, was named one of the top influencers at Academy Health’s health policy conference in Washington, D.C., because of his great tweeting from the presentations. You can see Jeff’s tweets from the conference and keep up with him by following @CHI_Bontrager.

Jeff, by the way, returned from Washington Tuesday night and hopped on a plane the next morning for Durango to spend the rest of the week participating in the Southwest Colorado Rural Philanthropy Days Listening Tour at the invitation of Chris Wiant, CEO of the Caring for Colorado Foundation. Chris knew that Jeff has been focusing on this area of the state as part of a CHI project in which staff members are conducting in-depth studies of specific regions.

Closer to home, our office has been certified as a healthy business by Colorado HealthLinks. The certification is for small businesses with a worksite wellness program in place. CHI has been recognized as a Certified Partner, meaning we met the requirements for having policies to foster lifestyle change. Some of these include desks that allow us to stand while we work, a healthy snack program and a lot of encouragement to use the steps up to our ninth floor offices. 

There are two new faces here. Annie Wohlgenant has joined the CHI team to provide consulting services and strategic planning guidance around the pursuit of national opportunities. Damian Illing, an MD/MPH student at the Colorado School of Public Health, is researching tele-health and tele-medicine for his practicum.

And in case you missed it, you can find our newest two-page brief using data from the Colorado Health Access Survey. The brief focused on children’s oral health, and was released Friday to coincide with Colorado Dental Health Month.