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CO General Assembly Moves Toward Integrated, Whole Person Care

May 12, 2022
Contact: Juan Ramiro Sarmiento
(785) 760-6567 |

CO General Assembly Moves Toward Integrated, Whole Person Care

The Collaborative Community Response Begins to Revolutionize Health Care in Colorado

(Denver, CO) – Wednesday night, the Colorado General Assembly concluded its legislative session and passed a number of policies that capitalize on federal investments enhancing access to health care, increasing coordination of services, and ultimately leading to healthier communities. The following bills are building the foundation for an ongoing effort by the Collaborative Community Response (CCR) which aims to bridge the gaps in fragmented health and human services.

– HB22-1278: Behavioral Health Administration
– HB22-1302: Health-care Practice Transformation
– HB22-1281: Behavioral Health-care Continuum Grant Program
– HB22-1356: Small Community-based Nonprofit Grants Program

These bills begin to build the infrastructure for cross-sector systems of care, regional health connectors to support collaboration among local community-based organizations, and implement care management to address the social determinants of health.

In response, Kyra deGruy Kennedy, Rocky Mountain Regional Director for Young Invincibles issued the following statement.

“The Collaborative Community Response Initiative (CCR) is a coalition of community leaders, advocacy organizations, and health and human services providers who have come together to reimagine thriving for Colorado’s individuals, families and communities. The CCR model prioritizes investing in individualized whole-person and whole-family wraparound social and clinical support services, rather than downstream payment for illness. In this session, a beginning was made toward this vision with the passage of these bills. We know creating equitable, affordable and accessible health care, including the social determinants of health care, won’t happen overnight, but we’re heartened by the progress made this session and look forward to continuing on this mission in partnership with the General Assembly.”

Additionally, Shale Wong, MD, MSPH, Executive Director for the Eugene S. Farley, Jr. Health Policy Center issued the following statement:

“This work, done by CO legislators, moves us toward a model of collaborative whole person care which will reduce health disparities and help us respond to the behavioral health crisis that Colorado is facing.”

Sarah Lampe, MPH, President & Executive Director for Trailhead Institute which houses the Regional Health Connector Program issued the following statement:

“Regional Health Connectors are an innovative, local workforce that is dedicated to building systems connections across primary care, behavioral health, public health, social services and other community organizations. The RHCs were built on the idea that a better-connected health system can help to improve the wellbeing of all Coloradans, and furthers health across the state by also centering voices, decision-making and resource distribution through those with first-hand knowledge of their communities. The passing of these bills supports bringing both RHCs and CCR closer to a connected health system built to support thriving families.”

Jake Williams, CEO for Healthier Colorado issued the following statement:

“We know a person’s physical, mental, and social health are all interconnected. Healthier Colorado is proud to be a part of this coalition that is imagining a bold and transformative approach to supporting the foundations of individual and community well-being. These policies are a strong step toward beginning to break down the silos in our state’s health and social systems, ensuring local communities have the resources they need to effectively collaborate and deliver integrated care, and investing in the essential services that will improve health outcomes for all Coloradans.”

Michele Lueck, President of Colorado Health Institute issued the following statement:
“We learned from the pandemic that it takes a high-functioning, connected community to support people’s health, social, and economic needs. The organizations and systems that do this work have historically been disconnected, which creates real obstacles to people who are looking for help. The Colorado Health Institute believes these bills are an important step toward advancing health equity in our state.”