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Colorado Models and Innovations

These stories feature model programs and successful rural projects that can serve as a source of ideas. Some of the projects or programs may no longer be active. Read about the criteria and evidence-base for programs included.

Promising Examples

funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy High Plains Community Health Center Care Teams
Updated/reviewed January 2018
  • Need: Meeting health care demands in a region with a limited number of physicians, where recruiting additional providers is considered impractical.
  • Intervention: Using the additional support of health coaches, implementation of care teams consisting of 3 medical assistants to support each provider.
  • Results: More patients seen per provider hour, with improved patient outcomes and clinic cost savings.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Prevention through Care Navigation Outreach Program
Updated/reviewed January 2018
  • Need: To reduce the prevalence of diabetes and cardiovascular disease in rural Colorado.
  • Intervention: Community Health Workers were utilized to create a system of coordinated care in Delta, Montrose, Ouray, and San Miguel counties.
  • Results: Over 1700 people were screened for diabetes and cardiovascular disease, with many at-risk patients lowering cholesterol levels and blood pressure after engaging with a Community Health Worker.
Rural and Underserved APRN Project
Added December 2017
  • Need: To reduce the primary care provider shortage in rural Colorado.
  • Intervention: A "grow your own" initiative in Colorado recruits rural registered nurses and trains them to become advanced practice RNs.
  • Results: 36 RNs have participated in the Rural and Underserved APRN Project so far.

Other Project Examples

Southwest Health System Antibiotic Stewardship Program
Added December 2018
  • Need: Impact patient care and safety issues related to antibiotic use in southwest Colorado.
  • Intervention: Pharmacy-led antibiotic stewardship program for inpatient, outpatient, and long-term care settings.
  • Results: With antibiotic use guidelines, refined infection diagnostics, and first-choice antibiotic selections, all care settings now see decreased days of treatment and decreased resistance patterns.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy The Community Care Alliance
Updated/reviewed December 2018
  • Need: Rural healthcare networks in Colorado and Washington felt the urgency to help their communities improve population health with better care at lower cost.
  • Intervention: The Community Care Alliance was formed to serve rural patient populations by assisting their healthcare organizations in transforming their practices to succeed at value-based reimbursement.
  • Results: Member healthcare communities have seen an increased collaboration among independent providers, clinics, and local hospitals on community health initiatives, patient transfers, and appropriate access and education.
Western Healthcare Alliance Laboratory Services Network
Updated/reviewed December 2018
  • Need: Increased efficiency for medical laboratory testing in rural western Colorado and Utah hospitals.
  • Intervention: Creation of a network for education, operational consulting, best practice development, and group contracting with discounted services for hospital laboratories.
  • Results: Lower laboratory testing costs with improved quality, efficiency, and turnaround times leading to increased healthcare quality.
San Luis Valley Public Health Partnership
Added September 2018
  • Need: Public health departments in Colorado's rural San Luis Valley region desired to share public health services to improve health outcomes in the region.
  • Intervention: Six counties joined in a public health cross-jurisdictional sharing arrangement. The partnership has served as a forum for sharing and evaluating opportunities to improve health access and core public health services.
  • Results: The partnership has enabled health departments to share expertise and develop regional projects to provide a broader range of public health services.
funded by the Health Resources Services Administration MORE Care
Updated/reviewed July 2018
  • Need: To improve rural residents' oral healthcare.
  • Intervention: MORE Care creates interprofessional oral health networks to 1) better integrate oral health into primary healthcare and 2) coordinate oral health between primary and dental healthcare.
  • Results: Operating in 3 states, MORE Care has led to increases in fluoride varnish administration, improvement in interprofessional communication, and patients' improved self-management of their daily oral health.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy SLV N.E.E.D.: Naloxone Education Empowerment Distribution Program
Updated/reviewed July 2018
  • Need: Growing concern in rural Colorado communities regarding prescription and illegal opioid overdoses.
  • Intervention: Education efforts for health workers and the larger community, in addition to establishing a naloxone overdose reversal drug program.
  • Results: Nearly all first responders are now trained to administer naloxone, participating pharmacies keep adequate naloxone stock, and ongoing service region dialogue to address opioid abuse.
funded by the Health Resources Services Administration Cavity Free at Three
Updated/reviewed June 2018
  • Need: Nearly 40% of Colorado children have experienced dental decay by the time they reach kindergarten. With several frontier and rural counties in Colorado considered dental deserts, options for oral healthcare are limited.
  • Intervention: Cavity Free at Three (CF3) works to improve access to preventive oral health for pregnant women and young children. While CF3 is a statewide effort, 87% of the program's target counties are considered rural or frontier.
  • Results: Since its start in 2007, CF3 has trained 4,938 professionals in performing preventive dental health. The percentage of children who received dental care before their first birthday rose from 3.1% in 2010 to 9.5% in 2017.
Jana's Campaign: Love Doesn't Hurt
Added June 2018
  • Need: Prevention and education programs for schools to reduce gender and relationship violence among teenagers.
  • Intervention: Jana's Campaign offers school-based trainings, presentations, projects, and consultations through Love Doesn't Hurt: Teen Gender Violence and Prevention Program.
  • Results: So far, 490 middle and high schools and more than 53,000 students in Kansas, Nebraska, and Colorado have benefited from the program.
HopeWest Hospice
Updated/reviewed May 2018
  • Need: To provide easily-accessible and affordable hospice, palliative care, and grief services to patients and families facing life-threating illnesses in Colorado's Western Slope counties.
  • Intervention: A nonprofit, community-sustained healthcare model was created to address serious illness care and grief needs of adults and children.
  • Results: Since 1993, HopeWest Hospice has helped more than 22,000 patients and families in need and has grown to serve five counties.
Senior CommUnity Care
Updated/reviewed January 2018
  • Need: Many older adults who have chronic diseases need additional assistance in order to remain independent in their homes.
  • Intervention: A PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) provides wrap-around services to support adults 55 years or older living in the western rural counties of Delta and Montrose in Colorado.
  • Results: Allows older people in western Colorado to maintain their independence in their own homes with a higher quality of life.
Eagle County Community Paramedic
Updated/reviewed February 2017
  • Need: Rural areas nationwide have shortages of primary care providers and home health programs.
  • Intervention: Eagle County Paramedic Services is utilizing community paramedics in the provision of non-acute home care and assistance with immunizations and screenings in rural areas where it is difficult for these services to be accessed.
  • Results: The pilot program was featured at the 2010 International Roundtable on Community Paramedicine. After 18 months of implementing the program, a net total of $288,028 in healthcare costs was saved.

Last Updated: 12/11/2018