Visionary health leaders created the Colorado Health Institute (CHI) in 2002 to fill a need for nonpartisan, independent data and evidence-based analysis to support decision-makers. The Colorado Trust, the Caring for Colorado Foundation and the Rose Community Foundation were the first funders, all providing general operating support. The Colorado Health Foundation became the fourth primary funder in 2008.
A Clear Mission: Better Health
It is still our mission to provide independent data and analysis to policymakers across the political spectrum and at all levels, from local to state to federal. We strongly believe that better information leads to better policy and that better policy leads to better health. At the same time, we have expanded our offerings, adding a broad range of strategic and programmatic services. CHI has become a trusted thought leader and a valued partner in the effort to create a healthier Colorado.
Each year we create a research calendar that prioritizes our core research and deliverables that will best meet the needs of our stakeholders. The 2018 core calendar is organized into these portfolios:
Behavioral Health: Confronting the Public Health Crisis of Our Generation
About 900 Coloradans lost their lives to drug overdoses last year, with more than half to opioids. Drug overdoses have surpassed firearms and automobile accidents as a leading cause of early death in Colorado and around the nation. CHI has been studying Colorado’s capacity for effective treatment and prevention of substance use, and we will build on our work in 2018. This portfolio will research and analyze policy options for improving delivery of mental health services as well.
Social Determinants of Health: Leveling the Playing Field
Safe housing. Walkable neighborhoods. Low crime rates. Good schools. All are connected to better health. These social and environmental factors look different by city and by Census tract. CHI is assessing how health care and public health can work beyond their traditional roles and engage new partners. And we are providing the local-level data that can help identify where work is needed.
Health Equity: A Focus for the Now and the Future
The issue of equity runs throughout each research portfolio and each research project. It is especially tied to the social determinants of health portfolio. But we think it is an important topic to consider in and of itself, the better to keep it at the forefront of our thinking.
Insurance Coverage and Access to Health Care: A Complex Struggle
Insurance coverage and access to health care are critical components of achieving better individual health and improving population health in Colorado. Colorado has managed to hold on to historic gains in coverage, but 350,000 Coloradans still do not have health insurance, and many more lack true access to the care they need. These remain the state’s most vulnerable resident, including Hispanics and people just above the poverty line.
Covering Our Most Vulnerable: The Future of Medicaid, CHP+, Medicare and Other Public Programs
Grappling with costs, both direct and opportunity, of Medicaid, CHP+, Medicare and other public insurance programs will occupy health policy discussions as they consumer larger portions of the state budget. The outcome of these discussions impact millions of Coloradans. They could not be more important.
The Economics of Affordability: Helping Communities Across Colorado Address the High Cost of Health Care
This portfolio covers two of the top 10 issues for the year: High prices and the geographic divide. The high price of health care and health insurance is top-of-mind for policymakers and ordinary people. Yet there’s little evidence to explain the wide variations in prices for coverage and care that we see between rural and urban Colorado. In fact, Colorado’s mountain communities have some of the highest insurance prices in the country. CHI is researching market competition and patterns in the use of care to provide answers. This portfolio also will provide data, information and analysis that communities may use to devise their unique strategies for health.
The Graying of Colorado: Policy Approaches to Aging
With a dedicated staffer in the governor’s office and an increasing awareness that the growing number of seniors in Colorado requires policy change, CHI will continue its research focus on solutions and policy options.
Innovation and Disruption: New Ideas in Health Care Delivery and Payment Reform
Colorado is a leader in creative efforts to improve health care delivery and devise payment models that support the integration of physical and behavioral health, value-based pricing and improved quality of care. Still, too many Coloradans aren’t getting effective and comprehensive primary care. We will highlight efforts that are likely to continue because they are multi-sectorial in their approach and promise, extending to insurers, providers, delivery systems, communities and consumers. And we will research the implications of continued consolidation of the state’s health care system.
The CHI Strike Team: Timely Analysis of Fast-Moving Political and Policy Developments
The 2017 debate over repealing the Affordable Care Act showed that radical policy changes can happen in a matter of hours. Policymakers and concerned citizens need up-to-the-minute information and analysis to make sense of it all. No other organization can muster the expertise to project the effects of policy changes in Colorado the way CHI can. We bring together experts from across the organization to staff our Strike Team, enabling us to move quickly but mindfully to explain changes.
Legislative Services: Nonpartisan Evidence for a Polarized World
Legislators of both parties have come to trust CHI for nonpartisan analysis and incisive thinking. Practicing evidence-based policymaking can seem like a quixotic quest in these times, but we have found that many legislators appreciate reliable data and deep thinking more than ever. That’s why we stand ready to provide to legislators on all points of the political spectrum.
How CHI Can Help You
CHI offers consulting support for organizations and decision-makers working on health and health policy projects. We provide research, data analysis and modeling, strategic thinking, organizational planning, facilitation, thought leadership, evidence-based policy advice and other services.
Visit our Services section for more information.