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A Note Taker’s Perspective on Collaboration and the State Innovation Model

When Colorado received a State Innovation Model Pre-Testing Assistance Award from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in March 2013, I had no idea that I was about to witness a study in hard work, collaboration, and progressive thinking. Multiple organizations and state offices have worked on the State Innovation Model (SIM), including the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, the Colorado Health Institute, University of Colorado’s Department of Family Medicine, and CIVHC. As part of the goal to make Colorado the healthiest state, the SIM plan focuses on integrating physical and behavioral health. The process involves Colorado stakeholders on multiple levels, from a large stakeholder advisory group, to issue-specific work groups, to a project management team. CIVHC is a member of the management team as well as the staff for the SIM Public Health Work Group. With the help of chair Lisa Van Raemdonck (Executive Director, CALPHO), Edie Sonn (Vice President, CIVHC), and Kristin Paulson (Senior Manager of Policy and Initiatives, CIVHC), a group of individuals from varied backgrounds and viewpoints provided exceptional insight and feedback for the public health section of the SIM plan.

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Laying Out a Path to Pay for Integrated Primary and Behavioral Health Care

Integrating physical and behavioral care is good health policy - and it's good for health.

The Institute of Medicine acknowledged that in 1996, when it advocated an integrated approach to primary care that would address physical, mental and emotional, and social functioning. And primary care providers see the importance of this every day. Patients’ mental and physical health problems are interwoven, especially for the chronically ill: the vast majority of patients with chronic diseases such as diabetes, congestive heart failure, asthma, lung disease and others have co-occurring mental health and/or substance use issues. And there is significant evidence that integrating primary and behavioral health care leads to improved outcomes and reduced costs of care.

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What We Want and Have In Health Reform Aren't So Different

You could generally count on the old TV westerns having at least one wild bar fight in which people were having bottles and chairs busted over their heads while others were being thrown over the bar and out the window. Usually the reason for the argument was lost and forgotten after the first chair was thrown and the melee stopped the second the sheriff strode in and fired his six shooter up into the ceiling. The chaos of a government shutdown over funding of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) reminds me of those old bar fights. In this case, I wish the American consumer could play sheriff, knock some heads together and say “we have the answer right here in front of us…now let’s do the right thing.”

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