5 Things Colorado:  Topical Agenda, national rankings, HHS proposed rule

We are now seven weeks out from our 2019 Colorado State of Reform Health Policy Conference. That means we’re deep in the work of curating speakers to touch on the most interesting topics in Colorado health care. So, if you have suggestions for thoughtful speakers for our 2019 conference, now is a good time to let me know about them! We’ll see what we can do to plug them in.


With help from Emily Viles

1. ICYMI: Topical Agenda out now!

In case you missed it, we recently released our Topical Agenda for the 2019 Colorado State of Reform Health Policy Conference. With about 300 senior health care executives and health policy leaders expected in attendance, State of Reform will be a “can’t miss” event. We’ll be exploring policy and politics in health care, evaluating opportunities and setbacks in reform, and diving deep into costs, disruptions, and care delivery.

Check out our Convening Panel to get an idea of those who helped put our agenda together. As always, if you have any suggestions on what we should include or potential speakers, you can send those our way. If you haven’t already registered, we’d be honored to have you join us!

2. Grant seeks to expand Southern Colorado mental health providers

A $242,758 grant from the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing seeks to increase the number of mental health and substance abuse providers who accept Medicaid across southern Colorado. The grant provides technical assistance to providers hesitant to accept Medicaid, and is part of continuing efforts to bring access to care to rural counties.

The grant was given to the Department of Human Services and will focus on Bent, Costilla, Crowley, Otero, Pueblo, and Saguache counties. Expansion efforts in these counties will be modeled after similar attempts were made successfully last summer in El Paso, Teller, and Park counties.

3. Denver area hospital receives national accolades in new report

Last week, US News and World Report released their hospital ranking analysis. National Jewish Health, Denver-University of Colorado Hospital snagged the number one spot in the pulmonary and lung surgery category  The hospital is known for excellence in treating lung-related conditions such as advanced lung cancer, pulmonary fibrosis and emphysema, and for lung transplant surgeries.

The report also ranks top hospitals regionally. The best hospitals in Denver, the Springs, Northwestern, Northeastern, Southwester, and Southeastern Colorado were ranked by location. Given the variation in hospital access across the state, the report is a useful tool to consumers when seeking hospital care.

4. CHI connects housing and health care

The Colorado Health Institute recently released a report detailing the relationship between housing and health. The report finds that affordability, stability, quality, and accessibility of housing all play a role in individual and community health. Housing stability is closely related to educational attainment, employment opportunities, and .a healthy lifestyle. Housing is directly related to health as a result of these connections.

“Policy decisions have created the current barriers to housing security that exist for some Coloradans, and Colorado can enact policies to remove these barriers. The opportunity is here to create a system that ensures all Coloradans can benefit from affordable, high-quality, secure housing.”

5. HHS new proposed rule

HHS is proposing a rule, issued by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), that would eliminate barriers to patient records as physicians treat those with substance use disorders. The new rule would amend 42 CFR Part 2, and is part of an ongoing push to cut outdated or unnecessarily strict regulations in health care.

The new rule has been met with concern from both patients, and providers, and as such SAMHSA is accepting public comments for consideration on the proposed rule until October 25th. Comments can be submitted online, or via mail.