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2011: Colorado Health Year in Review (Part 2)

2011: Colorado Health Year in Review (Part 2)

Editor's note: This is the second part of a series by CHI's Jeff Bontrager on the top health stories in Colorado in 2011. The first part is available here.

6. Colorado Health Foundation stake in HCA:  In June, the Colorado Health Foundation announced that it would seek divestiture of its 40 percent stake in the HCA-HealthONE health care system. In October, the Colorado Attorney General approved the sale for $1.45 billion.

  • The Colorado Health Foundation has indicated that the sale will not bring significant changes to its grant making areas, but will provide greater stability in its mission to make Colorado the healthiest state in the nation in 2012 and beyond.

    7. Listeria outbreak: Federal and state public health workers were put to the test to investigate a deadly multistate outbreak of listeria. The outbreak was eventually linked to cantaloupes grown at Jensen Farms in Colorado.

    • In all, the outbreak was linked to 30 deaths, bringing questions about U.S. food safety and how an outbreak could be prevented in the future.

    8. Repeal of the CLASS Act: The U.S. Congress made a decision in October to repeal a section of the ACA (referred to as the CLASS Act) that created a long-term care insurance program.

    • A recent CHI report outlined the projected growth of Coloradans ages 65 and the expense in treating them. The CLASS Act was criticized as financially unsustainable, signifying the difficulty and expense in implementing a national plan to address the needs of individuals requiring long term support and services.

    9. Uninsured rising: New findings from the Colorado Health Access Survey suggest that both the number and rate of uninsured in Colorado increased from 678,000 (14%) in 2009 to 829,000 (16%) in 2011.

    • As unemployment and poverty in Colorado stay stubbornly elevated, will uninsurance continue to increase in 2012 and 2013?

    10. Essential health benefits: In December, the Obama administration issued a bulletin that gives states the responsibility for determining the benefits that health plans will be required to cover in the new health insurance exchanges.

    • In 2012, Colorado and other states will begin the heavy lifting necessary to develop a process to determine what benefits are included and what are not.

    11. Primary care workforce: In a December report, CHI estimated that Colorado would need between 83 and 141 primary care clinicians in 2016 as a result of health reform implementation.

    • CHI’s estimates are on top of any existing needs, an important implication as many Colorado communities and health care providers anticipate demand in 2012 and beyond.

    Of course, there were a lot of other important events and issues that affected the health of Coloradans in 2011. I am interested in hearing your ideas. What did I miss?