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Informing Policy. Advancing Health.

Safety Net Updates, Working on the CHAS . . . and a Wedding

August is a big month for Colorado’s health care safety net. This week is National Health Center Week, followed by Safety Net Clinic Week. We’re getting ready to release several safety net publications, providing an overall picture of the safety net as well as some deeper dives on the impact of Medicaid expansion.

This week, look for an updated Safety Net Primer explaining what the safety net is, who uses it, and how it is funded – as well as trends and challenges. We’ll also have a new brief on how Medicaid expansion is affecting safety net clinics.

Julia Newman, a University of Colorado medical student who spent the summer with CHI, spoke with several clinics across the state about the changes they’ve seen in the wake of Medicaid expansion and how they are adapting.

The following week the updated Safety Net Database will be available, providing contact information for clinics across the state. We’ll have updated maps to go with the database and we will release a new brief on how Medicaid expansion, and a new dental benefit for adults, has affected Colorado’s oral health safety net. This will include findings from a recent survey of organizations that provide free or low-cost dental care to uninsured and publicly insured Coloradans.

Policy Analyst Jessica Fern is a member of the Workforce Data Stakeholders group, which is focused on building a new system for health care workforce data that draws from many primary data sources. The team, which met last week, has explored several options for building the new data warehouse and securely exchanging data.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Primary Care Office is staffing efforts to create this new workforce data system.

Meanwhile, Jessica and a team of CHI’ers are putting the final touches on Reaching Our Peak: Scorecard for a Healthier Colorado. This is our annual publication analyzing the impact of policies, programs and politics on the goal of better health for all Coloradans. Look for it in September!

Noteworthy Numbers, a new monthly publication highlighting unique and notable numbers from the previous month, went live on Friday. Written by research analyst Nina Roumell, it’s a great way to get up-to-date on interesting numbers related to health care-related topics in Colorado and nationally.

This month is also a huge month for the Colorado Health Access Survey. Our team here at CHI will be “CHAS-ing,” as we call it, until the cows come home. This means finalizing the 2015 data, analyzing it, and creating a report.

The survey, funded by The Colorado Trust, is the premier source of information on health insurance coverage, access to health care, and how health care is used in Colorado. The data will be revealed the first week of September at four public events. Here’s the link to sign up for one of them.

Even if you can’t make it to one of the discussions, we invite you to join the contest to guess Colorado’s uninsured rate. The winner will receive an Apple Watch.

Finally, we are pleased to share this picture from August 1 wedding of our data and statistics whiz, Becca Crepin. Becca, technically CHI’s Senior Data Analyst, married Chris Silvernale at the Stanley Hotel. The weather cooperated beautifully for their outdoor wedding. When Becca returns this week, she officially will be Becca Silvernale.