Health Innovations                                                                                April 2019
The SIM legacy
When asked to summarize how the Colorado State Innovation Model (SIM) has influenced health care in Colorado, several stakeholders talked about changes made to the culture of care, introducing a new body of knowledge and shining a light on the benefits to offering integrated behavioral and physical health in primary care settings and the need to support it in new ways. Hear their words in a new video released by SIM.

While this federally funded, Governor’s office initiative ends in July 2019, SIM investments will continue to lead to meaningful and lasting changes in the way care teams are designed to deliver patient-centered, team-based care, connections between practices and community resources, the frequency and depth of communication between mental and physical health providers and the ability for providers to negotiate with health plans. You’ll continue to hear examples of how SIM was a catalyst for change in Colorado through newsletters, social media channels and the website. While SIM ends in July, stakeholders will continue to champion integrated care as an effective way to improve health and reduce or avoid unnecessary costs and ensure that the successes we see today are the beginning of larger changes to come.
Saving people money on health care: A plan revealed
Governor Jared Polis and Lieutenant Governor Dianne Primavera shared plans for how they will save people money on health care April 4 during a press conference where a cost-savings roadmap was unveiled. Both state leaders cited SIM as an example of Colorado’s innovative approach to reforming health care and talked about the need to deliver more cost-effective, outcomes-oriented care, which is a main goal for the new Office of Saving People Money on Health Care. Click here to read more.
Providing a safe space for teens to talk about substance use
Gabriella Gomez gets emotional when she shares examples of how her work with Aurora Youth Options (AYO) has worked with teenagers to help them make healthy decisions about drugs and alcohol. “They have a space to be vulnerable,” said Gomez, program coordinator for the Prevention Awareness through Core Training Program during the latest episode of Innovation Insights, the SIM podcast series. “I’m really proud of the work we do.” Listen to Gomez talk about how AYO engages sixth-grade to ninth-grade students and parents in discussions that encourage healthier habits and avoid future health issues in the latest podcast, which was recorded earlier this week and subscribe to SIM SoundCloud and YouTube channels to hear more stories about how SIM is helping improve the health of Coloradans.
New provider ed modules
The following provider learning modules and resources will be released in the coming weeks to help primary care teams deliver whole-person care for patients:

  • Integrating Care for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD)
  • Caring for People Who Are Deaf or Hard Of Hearing   
  • Recognizing People in Your Care Who Are Veterans: Meeting Their Needs in the Integrated Care Setting
  • Burnout in Primary Care: Building Resilience

These modules will be added to other topic-specific learning modules with resources. Click here to learn more about these modules and others.
What info do consumers seek to inform health and wellness decisions?
Participate in a brief survey to help the state understand what health and wellness information consumers seek online. Answers will help the Office of eHealth Information promote and enable consumer engagement and empowerment and health literacy, two components of the Colorado Health IT Roadmap. Learn more and participate in the survey , which will be open until 11:00 PM MDT April 17.
RHCs recognized for their work
Two regional health connectors, Darlyn Miller (Central Colorado Area Health Education Center) and Mike Orrill (Chaffee County Public Health) were recognized by Peer Assistance services as recipients of the 2019 Founders Award. This award is given to individuals, foundations, corporations, community organizations and others who have made outstanding contributions that further the mission of Peer Assistance Services.  Learn more about the award here .
SIM practices get help reporting eCQMs
The SIM office funded an electronic clinical quality measure (eCQM) solution, which has been called the first to leverage blockchain technology for HIPAA-compliant data aggregation and reporting in Colorado. Time is running out for practices to get the help they need reporting eCQMs. Read more and encourage practices to apply today.
APM Summit attracts providers, payers
The Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative (TCPi), a federally funded, Governor's office initiative that is managed by the SIM office, hosted an Alternative Payment Model Summit in March that showcased TCPi practice success and highlighted trends in value-based payment contracts for specialty care providers. TCPi practice representatives learned from their peers and heard from health plan representatives, the Colorado Business Group on Health, the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing and others. Read the article and listen to video recordings of the Summit which will be posted next week.
Federal SIM evaluation report released
The SIM Round 2 Model Test Annual Report Three, which includes Colorado, was released by RTI International, the federal evaluator for the initiative. Colorado-specific information starts on A1 of the report, which analyzes data collected between May 1, 2017, and March 30, 2018.
Tell the feds how SIM is doing
SIM practices will receive invitations to participate in a federal evaluation of the initiative's ability to accelerate health care transformation that result in better quality care, healthier people and access to integrated physical and behavioral health. SIM practices will receive emails from the SIM federal evaluation team, which includes RTI International, The National Academy for State Health Policy and The Henne Group (federal evaluation team) to gauge interest and willingness to participate in focus groups or interviews. Emails will end in,, or
This evaluation team wants to hear from all types of practices including small and large, private practices, safety-net practices and those in and outside of the Denver area. The federal evaluation team will conduct focus group discussions and key informant interviews with SIM physicians, nurse practitioners and behavioral health providers. Interviews will last 60 minutes, and no stipend will be provided. Focus groups will last 60 minutes, and participants will receive a $300 stipend for their time.
The federal evaluation team will be in Denver April 24-26 to conduct in-person key informant interviews (at your office or a location you choose) and to conduct one, in-person focus group. From April 22-May 1, the federal evaluation team will also hold key informant interviews on the phone and conduct one, 60-minute virtual focus group using videoconferencing technology for providers outside the Denver area. If you are interested in participating in a focus group or being interviewed, contact Melissa Romaire:
Business curriculum helps practices negotiate
A new curriculum and webinars were designed by the SIM team and RT Welter and Associates to help practices gain skills to negotiate mutually-beneficial contracts with commercial payers. Two of the six curricula and webinars, which were highlighted during the March Collaborative Learning Sessions in Denver and Broomfield are available now. Learn more about these resources (located in the “practice transformation” section of the resources page of the SIM website) and watch for additional information.
Free networking opportunity
The Center for Health Progress holds an annual meeting every May to update members and partners, launch new initiatives and projects, and reconnect with its community of supporters. You are invited to participate as the Center reflects on the past year of work and looks ahead to the future. Register today for the breakfast and networking followed by a formal program. A Spanish interpretation will be provided.
Working with persons with dual diagnoses
The Colorado Department of Human Services, Office of Behavioral Health and Department of Health Care Policy and Financing are hosting a workshop to provide skills and knowledge concerning diagnosing and working with individuals who have both an intellectual and developmental disability (IDD) and a mental health condition.  Learn more about this event which is scheduled for April 24, 2019.
Suggested reading
The Importance of Social Determinants of Health Data (SDOH) , a paper that examines industry approaches to addressing SDOH, demonstrates how SDOH data is critical to reducing cost and improving the quality of care provided.
There is a lot that state policymakers could do to move us toward treating mental health the same as physical health. Read more in this op-ed published last month.
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.