5 Things Colorado:  Billy Wynne, What you missed, Return to Sender

We had a tremendous turnout for our inaugural State of Reform conference last month. Thank you so much to sponsors like Anthem, HMA, Beacon Health Options, and Optimetra. They put the wind in our sails this year but it was the 250-plus attendees that helped to make the event really special.

So, thank you for letting us play this role in Colorado health care.  Now, on to 5 Things we think are worth watching in Colorado health care.


With help from Emily Viles

1. What you missed at State of Reform

Two weeks ago, during what felt like a very January-like snow storm, we hosted our 2019 Colorado State of Reform Health Policy Conference with over 250 hearty souls from across the spectrum of heath care. Conversations covered some of the most complex issues in health care policy and reform.

As always, the hallway conversations were just as valuable as the breakout sessions, and keynote events. Check out this highlight reel to see what you missed, and hopefully you will join us next year!

2. Mixed results in October HEDIS report

The most recent HEDIS report from the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing finds that Colorado Medicaid’s weighted averages indicate low program performance statewide compared to national standards. The report also make recommendations for improvement in each domain if needed.

One noteworthy trend is apparent in the preventative screening category. Here, the state fell into the bottom 25th percentile overall while several non-recommended screenings for women and children were in the 75th percentile categorically. The report explains that the state should focus on improving the low performance of breast cancer screenings in this category specifically

3. Video: Billy Wynne, Wynne Health Group

Billy Wynne is the Founder and CEO of the Wynne Health Group, a consulting and advocacy firm serving Fortune 500 companies, marquee health systems and providers, life sciences manufacturers, health plans, foundations, and investment firms. He also designed and manages one of the most comprehensive online aggregator of health policy analysis:  Policy Hub. He joins us for the first edition of What They’re Watching in Colorado to discuss his version of the right public insurance option.

“So, to me, a perfect public option plan would be one that actually brings down cost for all consumers, both those who are in middle-class families, and those who aren’t subsidized in the market. And one that is required to deliver a stronger community benefit and public interests back to Coloradans than what we’re seeing currently in the insurance market.”

4. How Colorado looks from Washington DC

James C. Capretta, a former associate director at the White House Office of Management and Budget, is a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center at the Hoover Institution. He’s one of the country’s most thoughtful and most respected commentators on health policy.  We’re excited that Capretta has started a monthly column at State of Reform where he offers a view of state policy from his perch in Washington DC. This month, offers a take on Colorado’s approach to a public option.

Capretta breaks down aspects of the draft report, released last month, and highlights a number of questions that still linger. Would physicians and hospitals be forced to participate in the state option?  How would the size and political influence of Medicare play a role?  The state legislature must still approve key parts of the program’s design, and compulsory participation will be a major focus, he explains.


5. The challenges of ‘Return to Sender’

Medicaid eligibility and enrollment can be greatly impacted by the inability to locate recipients via mail. If the person is unreachable after one attempt, Medicaid and other public assistance programs can be revoked. This is a particular challenge for homeless populations.

In the southern part of the state, the amount of returned mail that arrives each day has resulted in 250 potential un-enrollments daily. Some estimates say that about 15% of the 12 million letters from public assistance programs to 1.3 million members statewide are returned. That equals some 1.8 million pieces of undelivered mail each year.