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.
Updated/reviewed September 2017
- Need: Rural hospitals and healthcare providers have less access to specialty care support.
- Intervention: A service was created at Avera Health that provides 24-hour virtual access to specialty care physicians, nurses and pharmacists.
- Results: Rural patients can receive specialty care without leaving their communities, and rural healthcare providers can get needed support in providing quality care to their patients.
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.
Updated/reviewed October 2015
- Need: To meet demand for health care with a limited number of physicians, in a region where recruiting additional providers was impractical
- Intervention: Implement care teams of 3 medical assistants to support each provider, with additional patient support through health coaches
- Results: More patients seen per provider hour, with improved patient outcomes and clinic cost savings
Added October 2015
- 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 the counties of Montrose, Ouray, and San Miguel.
- Results: 1,192 people were screened for diabetes and cardiovascular disease. As a result, many at-risk patients lowered their cholesterol levels and blood pressure through this program.
Other Project Examples
Updated/reviewed November 2017
- 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 specifically serve Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), employer groups, and other patient populations. Benefits for participants include quality improvement and practice transformation activities, comprehensive care coordination, outcomes measurement with quality reporting and data extraction, and analytics.
- Results: A total of 43 organizational members have received educational, networking, and technical assistance by being a part of the Alliance. Over 22,000 Medicare beneficiaries have been introduced to care coordination, leading to a decrease in emergency room visits, an increase in overall health, and lower medical costs.
Updated/reviewed October 2017
- Need: To help healthcare providers serving underserved and vulnerable populations become patient-centered medical homes (PCMH).
- Intervention: A 5-year project was launched to develop a replicable model for practice transformation for safety net providers, including rural practices.
- Results: Eighty-three percent of participating safety net clinics earned state or national PCMH recognition as of September, 2013.
Updated/reviewed July 2017
- 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.
Added June 2017
- 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.
Updated/reviewed May 2017
- 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 18,500 patients and families in need and has grown to serve five counties.
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.
Updated/reviewed November 2016
- Need: Lack of efficiency for medical laboratory testing for rural western Colorado and Utah hospitals.
- Intervention: A network that provides education, operations improvement consulting, best practices, and group contracting with discounted services for hospital laboratories.
- Results: Lower laboratory testing costs with superior quality, greater efficiencies, and improved turnaround times leading to increased quality of healthcare.
Updated/reviewed January 2016
- Need: Many older adults need some assistance in order to remain independent in their homes.
- Intervention: A PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) provides healthcare services and support for older adults 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.
Updated/reviewed June 2015
- 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 2007, CF3 has improved the oral health of children across Colorado.
Last Updated: 12/12/2017