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Informing Policy. Advancing Health.

Whereas: New Safety Net Monitoring and Mapping Tools from CHI

The waiting room at Denver’s Inner City Health Center was standing room only last Thursday as people gathered to kick off Safety Net Clinic Week, an annual event that recognizes community safety net clinics and rural health clinics across Colorado.

The kick-off was celebratory. Tours were given, speeches made, goodies consumed. One of the highlights was the reading of a proclamation from the governor acknowledging the role of the state’s health care safety net in providing care to vulnerable Coloradans.

In that spirit, the Colorado Health Institute team has released new safety net resources over the past two weeks. We started last week in honor of National Health Center Week, which recognized the state’s federally qualified health centers. We published our new Colorado’s Health Care Safety Net Primer as well as an introduction to the Safety Net Advisory Committee (SNAC) Learning Labs.

Today, look for an updated safety net database, our first interactive safety net maps, and the latest Food for Thought exploring issues around care for immigrants.

In the spirit of the governor’s proclamation, this week I wrote my own:

WHEREAS, this week is Safety Net Clinic Week;

WHERAS, last week was National Health Center Week;

WHEREAS, Colorado’s safety net providers are critical components of Colorado’s health care system;

WHEREAS, information is needed on the distribution of safety net clinics around the state;

WHERAS, the Colorado Health Institute continues to monitor the dynamics of the health care safety net; and

WHEREAS, Coloradans tend to love maps;

The Colorado Health Institute hereby unveils new interactive tools for mapping the state’s health care safety net.

The interactive map is proclamation-worthy because it represents the culmination of a tremendous amount of work by the Colorado Health Institute team. For the past seven years, we have compiled a database of all safety net clinics around the state. We have updated it throughout the year, and we’ve developed dozens of printable maps – like these newly updated ones– based on the data.

And now our Geographic Information Systems specialists have built an interactive map that allows users to see which safety net clinics are located in their community. The map can zoom in on a particular area, and additional information on each clinic is available by simply clicking the dot.

The state’s health care safety net is undergoing rapid change in the era of state and national health reform.

WHEREAS, the Colorado Health Institute is committed to ongoing monitoring of the state’s safety net infrastructure, we anticipate that the interactive map and other tools will enable Coloradans to have a better picture of resources within their communities.