When I started reading this year’s 2018 Colorado All Payer Claims Database (CO APCD) Annual Report, I have to admit I got a little teary. Before you think I’ve lost my mind and cry over health care claims data (that would just be weird), you need to know something about me. I can’t help but get emotional when I see something come to fruition that I know has taken a lot of effort. For example, I’ve been known to well up at large weddings (especially when I’m a guest and don’t know the bride and groom), at extravagant Broadway plays, and lavish concerts that clearly took a village to pull off.

So when I read through the annual report and saw for the first time on paper how far the CO APCD has come since 2012, I got a little choked up. In my role at CIVHC, I’ve had the pleasure of being a part of each of the five years of development and enhancement reflected in the report, but there was something incredibly special about seeing the progress laid out before me for the first time.

When I started with CIVHC in March of 2012, one of my primary roles was to communicate to our stakeholders our path towards implementing the CO APCD and how Colorado was going to be able to use it. At that time our data warehouse vendors had just started receiving the first test claims from eight of the initial commercial health insurance payers and Medicaid. We didn’t have any internal analysts on staff, and were relying on vendors, outside consultants, the CO APCD Advisory Committee and our Data and Transparency Committee to help us get the database functional.

At that time, we thought we had a good grasp of what the CO APCD was going to provide to Colorado based on the language in the legislation establishing the database, and we shared how it was going to being a terrific resource to identify cost savings opportunities and illuminate opportunities to improve the Triple Aim.

Turns out we weren’t wrong with a lot of the basic benefits of the CO APCD, but what we didn’t know was the numerous creative ways it could help support initiatives like measuring the return on investment for community-based programs like Project Angel Heart, or being able to, for the first time, understand drivers of total cost of care in Colorado compared to other states.

We have learned a lot in these past five years about the complexity of claims data, not only on the intake, but also on the processing and analytic side. Turns out making sense of over 800 million medical, dental and pharmacy claims isn’t an easy process, and we’ve had to significantly increase our analytic capability internally in order to get a firm grasp of the data and turn it into actionable information.

In spite of the inherent challenges we’ve faced, we’ve had some major successes along in terms of enhancing the value and accessibility of the data. We brought in Medicare Fee for Service and dental claims, established a scholarship fund with the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF) to support releasing more custom data, developed a consumer shopping tool and extensive population-level public reports, created a new, integrated website, established quality metrics from claims data, and participated in many multi-state projects.

Most importantly, we’re hearing from you, our stakeholders, that we’re supporting your work meaningful ways. This is on our wall in our office, and it’s the mantra we live by on a daily basis:


Throughout the annual report, we share the voices of many of those who we’ve had the pleasure to support with insights and information throughout the years. Your words by far reflect our biggest success, and we know we’ve just hit the tip of the iceberg on what we can do together with this valuable resource in Colorado.

I look forward to reading the 10 year anniversary report of the CO APCD and have no doubt it will leave me just as proud and amazed as this one.

By: Cari Frank, MBA, CIVHC’s VP of Communication and Marketing