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Specialty Care Referral Network Pilot Implementation Plan

This implementation plan for a new specialty care referral network pilot project was developed for the Mile High Health Alliance by the Colorado Health Institute.
Published: March 17, 2016 | Updated: April 11, 2017

mile high plan

The Mile High Health Alliance is a coalition of stakeholders in Denver — including representatives from public health, medical care, behavioral health, social and community services — that is working to address the city’s most difficult health challenges. The Alliance identified access to specialty care as one of its top priorities. The Alliance engaged the Colorado Health Institute to develop an implementation plan for a new specialty care referral network pilot project. The plan provides a roadmap for the Alliance’s vision of increasing access to needed specialty care for uninsured people and Medicaid enrollees in Denver.

The Colorado Health Institute developed the plan based on a qualitative analysis of key informant interviews and focus groups with expert stakeholders. The plan establishes the referral network — called the Hub. Among other things, the Hub will:

  • Monitor available appointments among participating specialty care providers.
  • Connect primary care providers in need of a referral to specialty resources.
  • Ensure that all participants are upholding expectations and guidelines.
  • Communicate closely with participating primary care and specialty care providers.
  • Provide care coordination services for patients from primary care providers as needed.
  • Connect primary care providers to specialists for consultation by maintaining an electronic consultation system, building relationships and promoting the Extension for Community Health Outcomes (ECHO) Colorado program.

Key components of the implementation plan include recommendations on the e-consult program, governance of the Hub, financial sustainability options, major decisions yet to be made, and the timeline and budget for the pilot project. 

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