CEO Update: Making Your Voice Heard
“I’m on the road again, just can’t wait to get on the road again.” The words made famous by Willie Nelson. These words ring true for me in my job daily. I’m typically on the road or in the air every week attending board meetings, committee meetings, and state/federal conferences representing the rural voice for Colorado. Then a few times a year, typically in the summer months, I have the opportunity to be on the road to visit with members in our rural communities. Of all the time I’m on the road, visiting with you in our rural communities is the most rewarding.
Over the course of 800 miles, I enjoyed many welcoming and enlightening conversations. Some of what I’ve heard is that rules and regulations continue to be a barrier and a burden to providing care. In fact, I’ve heard that these rules and regulations are negatively impacting your bottom line. With 14 rural hospitals operating in the red in Colorado, we cannot continue to absorb these unintended impacts. CRHC will continue to focus efforts in getting relief and change in these regulations to make it easier for you to provide care in your community. I’ve also heard that continued funding availability is needed for things like health information technology, care coordination, and the movement to value-based care.
Colorado, through the Office of eHealth Innovation (OeHI) and the eHealth Commission, is working on funding to help support health information technology. You may recall that as a State, through surveys, envisioning workshops and key health IT stakeholder interviews the Roadmap was developed. There are 16 objectives and three of the objective topics (care coordination, HIE and data sharing, consumer engagement) are just now forming workgroups. OeHI asked the State for funding and that combined with potential Federal funding is around $38 million. Everyone is hopeful that this funding will help further Colorado’s IT efforts and relieve some of the growing burdens.
On the Federal level, HRSA has released several funding opportunities including the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program – Planning due at the end of July. CRHC encourages you to apply for this funding and please reach out if you need a letter of support or help with idea generation.
Finally, I’d like to call your attention to a newly released resource, our Regional Snapshots. The Regional Snapshots are similar to the yearly release of the Snapshot of Rural Health, only the Regional Snapshots provide a deeper dive into region-level data. We hope that you’ll utilize this resource as you are applying for grants and as a way to start staff, board and community conversations. As always, we welcome your feedback on how to make this resource or any other resource more valuable for you.