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Key Issues / New Models of Health Care / Colorado Regional Health Connectors

Colorado Regional Health Connectors

December 1, 2016


A Regional Health Connector (RHCs) is a local resident whose full-time job is to improve the coordination of services to advance health and address the social determinants of health. RHCs promote connections among clinical care, community organizations, public health, human services, and other partners.

CHI is developing and managing this program in close collaboration with Colorado Foundation for Public Health and the Environment (CFPHE).  CHI oversees funding for this program from the State Innovation Model (SIM) through a contract with the Colorado SIM Office, while CFPHE oversees funding from a different initiative, EvidenceNOW Southwest, through a contract with the University of Colorado. 



Connected systems will lead to healthier lives for all Coloradans.


Regional Health Connectors improve health in Colorado by connecting the systems that keep us healthy – including primary care, public health, social services, and other community resources.


Health is determined by more than health care alone. Many factors, such as transportation, nutrition, education, and more, influence our health outside of the doctor’s office.

    • - Primary care builds trust. The unique relationship between a primary care practice and a patient can uncover opportunities for connections to comprehensive services.
    • - Health is local. Health starts in the neighborhoods where we live, learn, work, and play, and sustainable solutions must honor local diversity.
    • - Action must be based on evidence. Local data and experience paired with scientific studies can help us achieve better health outcomes faster.
    • - There is more to learn. Innovative approaches to complex challenges will improve the future of health and health care.
    • - Coordination leads to better health. Connected, comprehensive care will leverage available resources to keep Coloradans healthy. 

RHCs connect primary care practices with surrounding resources to improve the health of a community, implement activities to improve clinical-community linkages, remove barriers to health care, and address factors that influence health. For example, a RHC could:

  • -  Connect practices with resources to improve health, such as community tobacco cessation groups, local chronic disease management programs, school-based health services, and mental health response trainings.
  • -  Facilitate a regional collaborative to address the lack of transportation as a barrier to medical and behavioral care; develop and distribute educational materials to inform community organizations and providers about transportation options.
  • -  Promote shared decision-making among providers, public health agencies, and other partners in local plans to improve health.
  • -  Expand access to a local fitness center in a community where there is a need for more places to exercise; inform primary care practices about the new arrangement; assist in coordinating a referral system linked to the provider's electronic health record.
  • -  Enhance the support available to providers and their patients by assessing needs for practice transformation support and making connections to the appropriate program such as EvidenceNOW Southwest, the Colorado State Innovation Model, Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative, Regional Care Collaborative Organizations, and more.
                    To get connected to the RHC in your area, please contact

                  rhc map oct

                                                                       RHC HOST ORGANIZATIONS

To ensure the work is locally driven, each RHC is hosted by an organization or collaboration with existing relationships and a history of community-based work in the region. The host organization or collaboration (Host) receives funding to hire and manage a RHC for the region. Hosts are contracted entities in each region that are responsible for hiring, guiding and supporting the RHC. The Host enables the RHC to coordinate stakeholders and mobilize action to address local priorities.

Many organizations across the state have already started this work. In the summer and fall of 2016, Colorado Health Institute and our partner organization Colorado Foundation for Public Health and the Environment solicited proposals regional stakeholders to host the RHCs. Through Colorado State Innovation Model (SIM) and EvidenceNOW Southwest funding, host organizations will expand the scope of their current work and join a statewide network in developing this new workforce. A list of funded Hosts is provided below.  

Click the sign up button below to receive updates about the RHC program. 


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The Project described is supported by Funding Opportunity Number CMS -1G1-14-001 from the US Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Funding administered by CFPHE for the Program is from the University of Colorado through the ENSW project that is funded under grant number 1R18HS023904-01 from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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