Happy New Year!

During the holidays I enjoyed some great times with family and friends and hope you did as well!  With 2015 upon us, it is time to look at what is required of us to become successful in the future.

To make our way in the future, we must stay alert today while also remaining ahead of the curve for tomorrow.  The alternative is to evolve into a future where someone else creates the rules and pathways. We are going to have to change the way we work starting with creating more focus and energy on outpatient care.  While we will always need inpatient services, these services are now being called upon with less frequency.  As rural communities, this will mean thinking about the way we do business differently while still enabling services to be provided.  One way to begin thinking about the future is to remember our mission and service to the community, while generating new ideas on how business can change.

When you involve your team in innovation you must remember that flexibility is the key.

In order to succeed you must be flexible, involve your team and take advantage of the opportunities that exist.  Timing is everything and the time to engage is now.  On December 16, 2014, the Governor’s Office announced that “Colorado was awarded $65 million in State Innovation Model (SIM) funding to create a coordinated, accountable system of care that gives Coloradans access to integrated primary care and behavioral health.”   Colorado identified four major goals:

  • To create a coordinated, accountable system of care that gives Coloradans access to integrated primary care and behavioral health.
  • To leverage the power of our public health system to achieve broader population health goals and support delivery of care.
  • To use outcomes-based payments to enable transformation.
  • To engage individuals in their care.

Rural Colorado has already shown they are making their mark on population health.  The urban average for mentally unhealthy days per month, per 10,000 people is 3.16.  The rural Colorado average is 2.96, demonstrating that the systems we’ve already implemented are creating an impact that should be noted.

As rural communities, we can engage in opportunities like the SIM to help move us forward and provide greater access to services that we know are needed and necessary.  Rural communities can lead the state in their efforts to showcase coordinated and accountable systems of care.  Half of the rural health clinics in Colorado are owned by about half of our critical access hospitals meaning you already have a head start.  In fact, 21 hospitals and 14 of their clinics are already working together through our iCARE program to improve readmissions, heart disease, pneumonia and diabetes.  The biggest hurdle we face will be changing our mindset from “I can’t” to “we can!”  Together we can succeed by sharing best practices, challenges and supporting one another through encouragement and teamwork.

Get you team together and start talking about how to and sharing ideas.  During the Forum you’ll have the opportunity to hear about the state’s plan for SIM, learn about available resources from SAMSHA, HRSA and CRHC.  I know the journey to a new payment model and a new way of providing care will not be easy and there will be stumbling blocks but changing our mindset in recognizing that we can is a great first start.

Each community will have their own unique way of implementing the model but ultimately we are all working towards the mission to provide access and quality care at a cost that is maintainable for you as an organization and affordable for those you serve.  CRHC is prepared to assist you in this journey as we want to hear your ideas, thoughts, struggles and successes.

Together we will succeed and rural Colorado will provide a standard of care to be emulated by the rest of the state.

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