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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 Prevention through Care Navigation Outreach Program
Updated/reviewed May 2020
  • Need: To reduce the prevalence of diabetes and cardiovascular disease in rural Colorado.
  • Intervention: Community Health Workers are utilized to create a system of coordinated care in Delta, Montrose, Ouray, and San Miguel counties.
  • Results: As of 2018, 2,709 people have been screened for diabetes and cardiovascular disease, with many at-risk patients lowering cholesterol, blood pressure, and A1C levels after engaging with a Community Health Worker.
funded by the Health Resources Services Administration Rural and Underserved APRN Project
Updated/reviewed January 2019
  • 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: 81 RNs have participated in the Rural and Underserved APRN Project so far.

Other Project Examples

Jana's Campaign: Love Doesn't Hurt
Updated/reviewed January 2020
  • 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, 603 middle and high schools and more than 70,000 students in Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, Missouri, and Oklahoma have benefited from the program.
Southwest Health System Antibiotic Stewardship Program
Updated/reviewed January 2020
  • 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 Health Resources Services Administration Cavity Free at Three
Updated/reviewed December 2019
  • Need: In Colorado, 31% of 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: CF3 has trained over 5,000 medical and dental professionals in performing preventive dental health. The percentage of children who received oral healthcare from a medical or dental provider before the age of 2 has progressively increased, and fewer Colorado children have cavities now than they did 10 years ago.
funded by the Health Resources Services Administration National Jewish Health Rural Miners Outreach Clinics
Added December 2019
  • Need: Early detection of health risks associated with mining in the Western region of the United States.
  • Intervention: The National Jewish Health Miners Clinic of Colorado developed two rural outreach programs that partner with local healthcare facilities to offer free medical screening for active and retired miners and historic uranium industry workers.
  • Results: Since beginning in 2003, these programs have served over 2,000 miners and historic uranium industry workers. Dust disease of the lungs have been detected on chest X-ray screenings in 16% of patients, abnormal breathing tests have been found in 24%, and other chronic conditions have been detected.
San Luis Valley Public Health Partnership
Updated/reviewed December 2019
  • 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.
Together With Veterans Rural Suicide Prevention Program
Added December 2019
  • Need: Suicide among veterans has been steadily increasing, and rural veterans have a 20% increased risk of death by suicide compared to urban veterans.
  • Intervention: A program called Together With Veterans was formed to help rural communities address and prevent suicides among veterans. The initiative is veteran-led, collaborative, evidence-based, and community-centered.
  • Results: The program is currently in 6 states and reaches over 1,500 veterans every quarter while nurturing connections between agencies and community members.
funded by the Health Resources Services Administration MORE Care
Updated/reviewed July 2019
  • 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: MORE Care has led to increases in fluoride varnish administration, improvement in interprofessional communication, and patients' improved self-management of their daily oral health.
HopeWest
Updated/reviewed May 2019
  • Need: To provide easily-accessible and affordable services to address the challenges associated with aging, serious illness and grief across Western Colorado's rural 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 has helped more than 22,000 hospice patients and families in need and has grown to serve five counties.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Families Plus Comprehensive Health and Mentoring for Underserved Youth
Added March 2019
  • Need: Pediatric behavioral health services in Delta County, Colorado.
  • Intervention: Multi-organizational and community-wide effort to increase healthcare access for underserved children and to integrate behavioral health care into the area's primary care clinics.
  • Results: Sustainable increases in access to pediatric behavioral health services.
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.
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.

Last Updated: 5/2/2020