Health Innovations                                                                                 May 2018
Paving the way for future success
The Colorado State Innovation Model (SIM) team continues to celebrate the work that practice sites and community mental health centers are doing around the state to integrate behavioral and physical health and succeed with alternative payment models. This month provides a much-needed focus on mental health that we will continue to foster throughout the year.
SIM published a new call-to-action report this month that outlines strategies, partnerships and time frames to improve the mental health of boys and men in Colorado. Please read, share and respond to this call-to-action, work that was led by the SIM population health workgroup.

The SIM team will be participating in several mental health awareness month events — including the Lift the Label campaign (information below) — that raise awareness of mental health. Please join us at the events listed below and share your events with us so that we can help promote through social media channels .

Pictured above: SIM providers share examples of their practice transformation work with health plan representatives and practice colleagues at April Multi-Stakeholder Symposium. More information will be shared in a SIM blog later this month.
Respond to the call: Help improve mental health
The SIM team released “Seeking a different approach to behavioral health awareness, prevention and treatment for boys and men,” a new report that includes a 10-year strategy for improving mental health. While it focuses on boys and men, the report includes general recommendations to promote behavioral health and prevent mental health and substance use conditions in all populations. Read the report   here .
SIM helps practices connect to broadband
Adequate broadband capacity is essential for providers to collaborate, coordinate care and take advantage of telehealth, health information exchange (HIE), unified communications and cloud services. However, many healthcare providers lack adequate broadband capacity to leverage technologies that can transform health care delivery and outcomes. SIM has helped 196 practice sites gain access to broadband to rectify this issue. Read more about SIM broadband expansion efforts .
Evaluating SIM successes
SIM has revised its evaluation questions to focus on primary priorities and sustainability. To accomplish this, the SIM team worked with TriWest Group, an independent state evaluator, and SIM workgroups to review and revise the questions. The team agreed to cut some of the questions that focused on early implementation efforts or were not feasible given available data. Most questions were deemed necessary to answer the most vital questions in the last months of the project. A complete, revised list has been finalized.
Increasing access with integrated care: A success story
A client with severe bipolar disorder, history of significant drug and alcohol use, and experiencing chronic homelessness, was receiving periodic primary care in a traditional FQHC setting. For years, the client experienced significant instability due to mental health symptoms, substance use, and homelessness, and was unable to regularly access behavioral health treatment. The client’s primary care provider happened to have a deeper understanding of behavioral health issues and worked with the client’s challenges, including complicated medical issues, intoxication, dysregulation, and mania. At times, the client needed to be escorted out of the clinic or suspended altogether. The client was frequently referred to the community mental health center, but would become frustrated with what felt like a tangled and disjointed bureaucracy. The client was able to obtain housing on a few occasions, but would then lose it due to substance use and difficulties saying no to friends who would crash at their place and cause frustration with landlords.  Read the full story online .
Resources for integrating behavioral and physical health
The Make Health Whole (MHW) initiative, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, helps state agencies, policy makers, payers and philanthropic organizations advance behavioral health integration. MHW offers accessible data, evidence, a framework and tools. Learn more at
Register for Prime Health Summit
Join the SIM team at this annual summit that highlights the important role health information technology entrepreneurs play in health care reform efforts. SIM team members will be participating in and facilitating panels and workgroups. Here’s your guide to the 2018 Prime Health Innovation Summit: Enhancing Care Coordination Through Digital Health on May 10. Register to attend.
New opioid anti-stigma campaign
The state’s new opioid anti-stigma campaign, Lift the Label , strives to remove damaging labels and stigmas applied to people with opioid addiction that prevent them from seeking treatment. Join us May 14 from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. for an official launch with several speakers, including Governor John Hickenlooper, to learn about treatment options, get campaign materials and add to an opioid wall in memory of those who died from opioid overdoses. RSVP .
RHCs are helping communities throughout Colorado
This spring, Regional Health Connectors across Colorado have been busy connecting providers, government agencies, and community organizations! To meet your RHC, visit

  • In Region 3 (Douglas County), RHC Laura Don started a free clinic. Located in a church basement, the clinic provides local residents with resources like food and clothing; provides opportunities to enroll in WIC or get health insurance; and refers to community organizations and clinical specialists.

  • In Region 4 (Teller and El Paso Counties), RHC Darlyn Miller worked with a primary care practice clinic’s patient and family advisory council (PFAC) to bring in fresh fruits and vegetables into their clinic. Connection and support was provided for the PFAC to provide logistics and volunteer time with Colorado Springs Food Rescue to have fresh fruits and vegetables available to the patients of their clinic one time per week.

  • In Region 8 (San Luis Valley), RHC Dee Kessler is helping to reduce the stigma around mental health. Dee has formed a health promotion workgroup and has been coordinating monthly interviews and Public Service Announcements with the local radio stations around pregnancy, depression, suicide, #metoo, help for veterans and pregnant moms. She is promoting the “Let’” campaign using 30 second PSA’s shown at the movie theater, and distributing flyers and posters around these campaigns. 
Improving mental health in minorities
A new blog from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute highlights a large portfolio of research addressing disparities in health and health care, now standing at 78 comparative effectiveness research studies. This effort addresses racial and ethnic disparities in mental health care and outcomes. Racial and ethnic minorities have less access to mental health care, are less likely to receive diagnoses of mental illnesses, and have poorer mental health outcomes than non-Hispanic whites, according to data. Learn more:   
Mental Health Colorado Mental Health Month activities
  • Please show your support and attend our proclamation for Mental Health Month at the State Capitol next Tuesday.
  • Pangea Coffee Roasters in Golden created “Freudian Sips”—a special blend for the month of May. All proceeds will benefit Mental Health Colorado. 
  • May 10 is Children’s Mental Health Day. Tune into 9News for a 9line from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Counselors will man the phones to answer questions about children and adult mental health.
  • May 19 is the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Walk. 
Suggested reading
A population health program that improves healthcare access and takes into account social determinants of health reduced emergency department and inpatient care and lowered costs, according to a new Health Affairs study.
Let's Talk Colorado, a SIM-funded stigma-reduction campaign, has updated the contents of a toolkit which helps people teach, learn, share and talk about mental health.
The project described was supported by Funding Opportunity Number CMS-1G1-14-001 from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The Colorado State Innovation Model (SIM), a four-year initiative, is funded by up to $65 million from CMS. The content provided is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of HHS or any of its agencies.