On April 4, 2019, Governor Jared Polis released his Roadmap to Saving Coloradans Money on Health Care. According to the report, healthcare costs accounted for 32% of median household income in Colorado in 2016.
According to the governor, that’s too much.
Polis hopes that by making healthcare more affordable, Coloradans will be less hesitant to seek care, which will help to prevent emergency care needs that increase healthcare costs. The plan has six short-term and six long-term goals to achieve cost-savings, increase patient access, and promote preventative care.
While the plan will impact the entire state, here are some unique way that its goals may impact Denver South, specifically.
Create an increased need for and put a spotlight on health-tech solutions.
In the short-term, the Roadmap aims to “lower hospital prices through innovative payment models, tools, [and] community engagement to make care more efficient.” Streamlining care and ensuring cost containment will require health-tech, an emerging industry in Denver South.
Denver South is home to Prime Health Colorado, a collaborative of 1,600+ health care executives, physicians, technologists, academics, entrepreneurs, and investors dedicated to improving health in the state. It’s also home to health-tech companies including Recondo Technology, which offers solutions for registration quality, eligibility verification, estimations and price transparency, authorizations, and claim status.
The region’s health-tech companies and stakeholders may be tasked with new, specific challenges to help realize the Roadmap’s goals.
Create a need for virtual healthcare support of rural and mountain regions.
In the long-term, the plan aims to increase access to qualified health care providers. It will achieve this in part by harnessing technology and increasing broadband service to expand the availability of tele-medicine and tele-health options, specifically to Colorado’s more rural and mountain communities.
According to the Roadmap, this will improve access to specialty care, behavioral health care, and care for people living with disabilities.
Denver South and the surrounding areas are home to state-of-the-art health care providers including the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus (CU Anschutz) and Sky Ridge Medical Center. The region’s health providers may be called upon to provide tele-health care to residents in rural or mountainous regions of the state.
More preventive care. In the long-term, the plan aims to “reward primary and preventive care to expand access to behavioral and physical health care to prevent conditions from worsening with cost effective early identification and treatment.”
So, expect that employees may have a few more doctor visits.
A renewed fight against hunger.
In the long-term, the plan aims to “increase access to healthy food and support the implementation of the Blueprint to End Hunger.” And, we do have hungry neighbors.
In Arapahoe County, 78,410 residents faced food insecurity in 2017, according to Feeding America. In Douglas County, that number was 28,280. In Douglas County, only 38% of eligible residents are enrolled for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits and only 40% of eligible residents are enrolled in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program.
The Colorado Blueprint to End Hunger aims to connect more people with these available resources.
Governor Polis has already gotten started streamlining healthcare in Colorado by signing the Hospital Transparency bill into law. The new law will help to achieve a short-term goal of the plan, that is, to increase price transparency in hospitals in order to determine the true cost of care.
Coloradans can expect to see a push for greater hospital transparency and healthcare affordability in the coming years. And, likely, some of the innovative technology and attentive care required to drive that shift will originate right here in Denver South.