TopAt a Glance
April 1, 2020                                                                                  
In This Issue
In February 2020, there were 1,193,435 Coloradans enrolled in Health First Colorado and 76,152 enrolled in
Upcoming Events and Helpful Resources
Health First Colorado printed materials are available on our website
Health First Colorado videos for use in waiting rooms and other areas members visit are available for download on our website
New to PEAK or Need a Refresher?

The Intro to PEAK and Application Walk-Through recorded webinars are available anytime. For more information and trainings, visit the PEAK Outreach Initiative website.
Public Rule Review Opportunities

Anyone interested in a one-on-one discussion with Department staff about upcoming rules is invited to attend the Department's Public Rule Review Meeting. Information is available on the Public Rule Review Meetings webpage. 

For more information, or to be added to the Medical Services Board email distribution list, please contact Chris Sykes.
Employment Opportunities

Applying for state government jobs is easy. Applications are electronic, you will receive updates, and you do not need to answer any written questions until it is determined that you meet the minimum qualifications. 

Check out the website for State of Colorado jobs including the Department of Health Care Policy & Financing jobs.
Welcome to the March 2020 edition of At a Glance!

At a Glance is a Department of Health Care Policy & Financing (Department) publication that provides information on major initiatives, policy changes and program updates. Please feel free to share At a Glance with your colleagues. Previous editions of At a Glance are available on our website.

Thank you for your interest!

A Message from the Executive Director
This month, I would like to address what the Department is doing to support our providers, partners and fellow Coloradans during this unprecedented public health crisis. 

We serve more than 1.2 million Coloradans through Health First Colorado (Colorado's Medicaid program), Child Health Plan Plus
(CHP+) and other health care programs. With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, our Department is being called upon to serve more Coloradans than ever before. 

Although we have seen dramatic increases in our member numbers before -- especially when we expanded Health First Colorado under the Affordable Care Act -- we have never experienced a projected membership increase of this magnitude in such a short span of time. To adapt, we are implementing numerous system and policy changes under challenging time constraints; we appreciate your partnership through this time of dynamic change:   
  • As a first step, we moved in lock step with the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment and federal guidance to reduce exposure for our most vulnerable -- those in long-term care facilities and other populations who are more susceptible to COVID-19 -- through a number of provider care directives.
  • We have taken steps to reduce administrative burden on providers through requests for program flexibility from our federal partners. 
  • We've asked our county partners and all vendors to activate their continuity of operations plans -- including work from home capability -- to ensure they can answer the phones and serve our members during the state of emergency.
  • We have reduced face-to-face engagement requirements where clinically appropriate and enabled telemedicine as an alternative. And we've enacted temporary enhancements to our telemedicine policy to improve overall access to care for our members to further mitigate the spread of the virus. 
We are working with our federal partners to secure approval on other accommodations; however, we will need to balance budget constraints with all options before finalizing such decisions. In the interim, you can find up to date information and details on our new webpage:

Thank you to all of you who are on the front lines battling this pandemic to the betterment of our members and all Coloradans. To our county partners, care providers, first responders, sister agencies, HCPF staff and to all of you --- words are inadequate to sufficiently express my sincere appreciation for all you are doing each day to save lives, to keep Coloradans safe, and to create access to the HCPF safety net programs and supports that are needed by so many during this state of emergency.

Kim Bimestefer
Executive Director
Breaking News
Department Launches New COVID-19 Newsletter
The Department has created a weekly update for providers, stakeholders, community partners and staff containing updates from the Department about the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).  If you'd like to opt-in to receive this newsletter, please go to the Department's newsletter sign-up webpage , complete the form with your contact information, click "COVID-19 Weekly Update" and then the "Sign-Up" button.
Emergency Waiver Overview and Other Resources for Providers and Partners
The Department has published an emergency waiver overview that outlines Department efforts  to address the COVID-19 pandemic. 

These pages also have other COVID-19 resources for providers and partners who work with our Department. 
State Launches New COVID-19 Website
The State of Colorado has launched a new website with a breadth of informational resources and improved data visualization for COVID-19. The website will be the state's primary resource for information related to COVID-19 and will feature statewide coordinated response information.

For more information, visit the website.
Inpatient Hospital Review Program Suspension
Effective April 1, 2020, the Inpatient Hospital Review Program (IHRP) will be suspended to allow hospitals to direct resources to their COVID-19 response. 

Inpatient claims in which the admit date occurs on or after April 1, 2020, will not require an IHRP prior authorization, concurrent or complex case review, or Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) admission review until further notice. 
Special Message from Connect for Health Colorado
Connect for Health Colorado  has opened up a two-week Special Enrollment period  for Coloradans who are currently uninsured or about to lose coverage due to COVID-19. That coverage will start April 1, 2020, and  Coloradans must  enroll by April 3  to receive coverage under this COVID-19 rule.  Visit their website to learn more .

Coloradans can enroll by filling out an application online and selecting a health insurance plan through our website at They will click the "Login" button on the top right of the homepage and select "Create an Account." When enrolling, applicants should select the enrollment reason as, "Will lose or lost health insurance and/or have no other health coverage during the COVID-19 outbreak." People who enroll through this Special Enrollment period will  not  be asked by health insurance companies to provide documentation to verify their eligibility for the new special enrollment period.

They can also call our Customer Service Center at 855-752-6749, or get help enrolling with a certified enrollment expert including certified Brokers and Assisters. Our Customer Service Center is adding weekend hours during this period. The hours: Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Certified enrollment experts will offer virtual and/or phone appointments. To find a Broker or Assister, visit .

As always, Coloradans can sign up for a plan any time of the year if they experience  other qualifying life change events , including loss of job-based coverage. Residents who qualify for Health First Colorado (Medicaid) or the Child Health Plan  Plus  program can also enroll online through the  PEAK application  any time during the year.
Medical Services Board Update
On March 20, 2020, the Medical Services Board authorized an emergency rule request from the Department to temporarily expand its telemedicine policy for Health First Colorado (Colorado's Medicaid program) and Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) members. 

Many providers already had the ability to serve members via video-enabled telemedicine; now, those providers, which include behavioral health and physical health, can also use telephone and live chat. For more information, read the news release

The Board also adopted a pharmacy emergency rule waiving prescription tracking requirements for the duration of the
public health emergency as declared by the Governor. T he Department is waiving the prescription signature requirements in Sections 8.800.11.E.1.a and 8.800.11.E.1.b. during this public health emergency. This will serve as a safety precaution by eliminating the need to touch pens and electronic screens, in addition to eliminating a potential barrier for a member to receive medication when they can not physically go to the pharmacy. For more information, contact Kristina Gould.

Reminder for County Offices
Application Date is the date the application is received and date-
stamped by the eligibility site or the date the application was received and date-stamped by an Application Assistance site or Presumptive Eligibility site. In the absence of a date-stamp, the application date is the date that the application was signed by the client. This definition is in Volume 8.
New Federal Poverty Level Guidelines
The Department has posted the 2020 Federal Poverty Income (FPL) Guidelines for Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) Medicaid  and Child Health Plan Plus programs.

e new guidelines are effective April 1, 2020The Colorado Benefits Management System (CBMS) has been updated and reflects the new guidelines. 
Legislative Update
The General Assembly officially adjourned until Monday, March 30, and is expected to extend the recess. The House will meet in limited session on Thursday, April 2. The Senate is currently adjourned. 

For more information, visit
Member Health 
Non-Emergent Medical Transportation Update
Non-Emergent Medical Transportation (NEMT) will continue to operate as normal. However, due to the statewide stay-at-home order, Health First Colorado members should only travel for essential medical appointments. Please continue to schedule rides using the normal processes.

At this time, there are no policy changes to limit or discontinue NEMT services.

The option for "multiloading" more than one passenger has been removed during this time of encouraged social distancing. 

All members should call their provider prior to scheduling any appointment, as they may be advised not to come if they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.

If members are experiencing symptoms they consider life- threatening, they should call 911. NEMT is only for non-emergency transportation.

It is suggested that transportation providers follow guidance set forth by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Recommended actions include :
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol. 
In addition, by taking the below necessary precautions/steps, you can help eliminate the spread of the virus and ensure the well-being of passengers.
  • Daily disinfection of vehicles.
  • Have tissues available in vehicles for drivers and/or passengers.
  • Have hand sanitizer available in vehicles.
The state is unable to offer any type of additional funding or sanitation supplies (hand sanitizer, wipes or masks) to transportation providers or members.

For more information about COVID-19, visit or
Health Care Affordability
Hospital Transformation Program Update
HTP application materials
A new section has been added to the  HTP website  in the drop-down list titled "Hospital Transformation Program Application Documents." This section contains the below documents pertaining to the HTP hospital application process:
  • Hospital application.
  • Application background and instructions.
  • Application Review Criteria.
  • Intervention proposal.
  • Letter of Partnership template.
  • Ongoing Community and Health Neighborhood Engagement Requirements.
Please reach out to the Special Finance Projects Manager Matt Haynes at  with questions regarding these documents.
Update on federal authorities
As the federal comment period closed Feb. 9 for the HTP 1115 demonstration waiver, the Department is engaged with Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in discussion of each of those components and is working toward obtaining approval for all components in advance of the target implementation date of October 2020.
HTP Road Show training for hospitals
The HTP team would like to thank all those who attended in-person HTP Road Shows that took place across the state in March.
The Department will host a statewide webinar on Thursday, March 19 for all those who were unable to attend the hospital training sessions. Details will be forthcoming. If you would like to attend the webinar, please contact Joe Sekiya, HTP Program Coordinator, at . Presentation slides are available on the HTP website.   
If you'd like to know more about the HTP, visit  the HTP website   and read past editions of the HTP Newsletter in  our online archives.
For more information, contact Courtney Ronner.
Operational Excellence
Buy-In Program Web-based Training
The Health Care and Economic Security Staff Development Center (SDC) has  released  the web-based training for  Project #12995: Medical Assistance Buy-In Revamp,  that is  part of  the February 2020 CBMS Build. 

The Health First Colorado Buy-In programs, Buy-In for Adults with Disabilities and Buy-In for Children with Disabilities, allow adults and children with disabilities to access State Plan Medicaid by paying a premium. This training will provide you, as an eligibility worker, a full overview of the Buy-In programs. The training includes enhancements that implemented in the February 2020 Build project #12995. 

To access the training, users will need  to log in to Co.Learn and search for the title listed below:
For more information, contact .
Nondiscrimination Policy
The Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing complies with applicable federal and state civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnic or national origin, ancestry, age, sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, religion, creed, political beliefs, or disability. Learn more about our Nondiscrimination Policy.

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