by Kim Bimestefer, Executive Director, Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing

My last message to you, in the March/April issue of Colorado Medicine, focused on the Health Care Affordability Roadmap. Since then, Gov. Jared Polis outlined his administration’s health care priorities in the Polis-Primavera Roadmap for Saving Coloradans Money on Health Care, which offered short-, medium- and longer-term goals for Colorado. As well, policymakers from both parties, providers, consumers, employers and the broader community came together to have important and sometimes difficult conversations about driving health care affordability across Colorado. That good work resulted in a transformative 2019 legislative session. I’m very pleased to report that many impactful affordability policies were passed, such as:

  • HB19-1001 - Hospital transparency
  • HB19-1174 - Out-of-network reform
  • HB19-1168 - Reinsurance
  • HB19-1004 - Affordable coverage option
  • SB19-005 - Import prescription drugs from Canada
  • HB19-1320 - Hospital community benefit accountability

At HCPF, we are also very excited that our legislative agenda items passed to extend our Breast and Cervical Cancer Care program for a decade (HB19-1302), allow more seniors to access dental care (HB19-1326), and enable additional grant funding to support nursing home innovation (SB19-254). In addition, legislation passed this year focused on helping those who need us the most: legislation passed to extend the in-home support services (SB19-164) and spinal cord injury waiver programs (SB19-197), and to give pregnant women in the Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) program access to dental coverage (HB19-1038). Many behavioral health bills moved through this session as well.

What’s ahead: Further partnering with you

The initiatives passed this session and those already in the works will require the insights and expertise of partners like you going forward. You’ll be hearing more from us in the coming months as we work together on implementation and federal approvals where necessary. Specifically, we’ll be looking to partner with you on:

The new provider tools in development, which I mentioned in the last article. Prometheus can help inform your referrals based on potentially avoidable complications (PAC insights), enable hospitals to address quality and cost opportunities, and frame Centers of Excellence conversations by procedure.

The new physician prescriber tool we are working on will offer prescribers cost insights on Rx alternatives by payer, available health improvement programs that can complement or avoid drug therapy, and insights into patient-specific addiction risk as you consider opioid therapy and alternatives.

Together, we will explore telehealth to improve specialty care access, serve members in rural communities, help members with mobility challenges and increase access to behavioral care.

We are looking forward to partnering with you to implement the new policies enacted this legislative session, to the betterment of the Coloradans we jointly serve. Thank you for the work you do to serve Health First Colorado members and for what you are doing to be part of the affordability solution across the state.


Categories: Communications, Colorado Medicine, Resources, Health System Reform, Medicaid Reform