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Informing Policy. Advancing Health.

Do Colorado's Most Vulnerable Have Access to Specialty Care?

Access to specialty care is a significant issue for many of the state’s most vulnerable residents.

CHI’s health policy analysis includes a focus on ensuring access to primary care. Having a primary care medical home increases access to needed preventive care, hopefully avoiding more serious conditions down the road. However, the discussion should acknowledge that access to needed specialty care is also a significant issue for many of the state’s most vulnerable Coloradans.

CHI partnered with Kaiser Permanente Colorado to conduct an assessment of access to specialty care in the state’s health care safety net –community health centers, rural health clinics and community-funded safety net clinics. We found that relatively high percentages of clinics reported having little or no success in securing referrals for many specialties (represented by the blue area in the graphs below).

CHI found that having health insurance does, in fact, matter in securing referrals, though it is not a guarantee. For example, a proportion (albeit small) of safety net clinics reported difficulty referring their privately insured patients to a specialist.

 To see the full report and explanation of the graphics, please click here