5 Things Colorado: ‘Spurring innovation through BH care reform,’ ‘The future of Medicaid,’ ‘Solutions for supporting the workforce’


Eli Kirshbaum


Yesterday, we released the Detailed Agenda for the 2022 Colorado State of Reform Health Policy Conference! The list features dozens of incredible speakers and impactful leaders who will convene with us in Denver on November 2nd. This is our first time back in Colorado in-person since the beginning of the pandemic, so needless to say we are thrilled for what is sure to be a can’t-miss event!

In this newsletter, we provide an overview of some of the panels we’ve put together for you. Thanks very much for your support, and don’t forget to register for the conference!

We can’t wait to see you there.

Eli Kirshbaum 
State of Reform


1. Panel: Spurring innovation through behavioral health reform

Colorado has cemented itself as a national leader in behavioral health policy. The recent creation of the Behavioral Health Administration (the leader of which, Dr. Morgan Medlock, will be our Closing Keynote!) has positioned the state to pursue new, innovative approaches to behavioral health care delivery.

We are honored to have this strong panel of experts discuss some of the opportunities on the table as the state pursues transformative reforms to behavioral health policy. Join the conversation to hear from Summer Gathercole, Deputy Commissioner of Operations for the BHA, Hossam Mahmoud, MD, Regional Chief Medical Officer at Beacon Health Options, and Kiara Kuenzler, CEO of the Jefferson Center for Mental Health. Gina Lasky, PhD, HMA’s Managing Director of BH Client Services, will moderate.


2. Panel: The future of Medicaid

In this unique panel, you’ll get the opportunity to hear directly from the state’s foremost leaders of Medicaid policy about recent changes to the program, as well as what to expect heading into the future.

Join newly appointed Medicaid Director Adela Flores-BrennanBonnie Silva, Director of HCPF’s Office of Community Living, Peter Walsh, MD, HCPF’s Chief Medical Officer, and Aaron Green, HCPF’s Health Disparities and Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Officer for a robust discussion on all things Medicaid!

3. Panel: Solutions for supporting the workforce

The health care workforce continues to be the number one policy priority for many stakeholders, not just in Colorado but across the country. While the state’s health sector is still navigating the pandemic’s detrimental impact on an already-below-capacity workforce, what solutions are on the table today to support and expand this integral group of professionals?

Joshua Ewing, Vice President of Legislative Affairs at the Colorado Hospital Association, Colleen Casper, Director of Practice and Government Affairs at the Colorado Nurses Association, and Alisha Elliot, Undergraduate Pre-Health Program Director at CU Anschutz’s Office of Inclusion and Outreach will provide a multi-silo overview of current efforts to address the health care staffing shortage, as well as offer recommendations for new strategies the state can pursue.


4. Panel: Preparing for the end of the PHE

Another health policy issue at the top of most stakeholders’ minds is the imminent unwinding of federal Medicaid flexibilities once the Public Health Emergency ends. With the PHE now expected to end sometime in early 2023, state leaders are busy preparing to mitigate potential coverage losses.

To hear about how the state is preparing for Medicaid redeterminations and what the broader health sector can do to assist in the effort, grab a seat at this informative panel! You’ll hear expert insight from Wendy Nading, Nurse Manager at the Tri-City Health Department, Shoshi Preuss, Senior Policy Analyst at the Colorado Community Health Network, and Connie Price, MD, Chief Medical Officer at Denver Health (who we’re honored to also have delivering the event’s Lunch Keynote!).

5. Panel: Legislators discuss health policy

It goes without saying that lawmakers play a critical role in shaping state health policy. That’s why we’ve put together a bipartisan panel of some of the Colorado Legislature’s leading health policymakers for a conversation about this year’s policy movement at the capitol. To hear legislators’ perspectives on some of this past session’s health policy legislation and their plans/predictions for next year’s legislative session, be sure to grab a seat!

Speaking on the panel will be Sen. Rhonda Fields, Chair of the Senate Health & Human Services Committee, Sen. Jim Smallwood, a member of the same committee, Rep. Dafna Michaelson Jenet, Chair of the House Public & Behavioral Health Committee, and Rep. Matt Soper, a member of the House Health & Insurance Committee. We were honored to have this same group of leaders speak at last year’s virtual Colorado conference and are thrilled to have them back in-person to deliver updated remarks!