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Colorado: Building Blocks to Health Care Reform

On February 13, 2008, Governor Bill Ritter announced a multifaceted plan for improving Colorado's health care system, with a focus on improving quality and containing costs. One element of the plan calls for the creation of the Center for Improving Value in Health Care, an interdisciplinary think tank that will identify and develop cost control and quality improvement strategies. The Center's mission will be to bring consumers, businesses, health care providers, insurance companies, and state agencies together to develop long-term strategies for ensuring better value for the $30 billion spent on health care in Colorado each year.

Funding of $51,000 for the initial planning phase has been secured from The Colorado Trust and approved by the governor's office, with work beginning officially on April 1. The first order of business will be to generate a list of potential board members for approval by the governor. The state has hired the health care consulting firm John Snow, Inc., to facilitate creation of the Center.

"We know that we can do a better job in assuring the quality of health care and contain costs, allowing for more money to be spent on benefits for more clients," says Joan Henneberry, executive director of the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, who was named by the governor to be the Center's executive director. "The Center will bring the right people to the table to develop successful strategies to ensure change."

Other elements of the reform program address the need for increased transparency in the health care sector. The governor proposes to create a Web-based, consumer-friendly "Report Card" on health plans to enable employers and individuals to make well-informed choices. The state also plans to make investments in health information technology through the state's Regional Health Information Organization, and to expand care in rural and underserved areas by increasing the number of services that can be provided by nurses and dental hygienists.

For More Information
Contact: Joanne C. Lindsay, public information officer, Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, [email protected]

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