Health Innovations                                                                                  January 2018
Happy new year from SIM
Happy new year from the Colorado State Innovation Model (SIM) team! With nine days left to apply for the third and final SIM cohort , we are pursuing all venues to raise awareness about this unique and valuable opportunity to get the help providers need to integrate behavioral and physical health and succeed with alternative payment models (APMs).
One key benefit to SIM participation is practice coaching to help practices use data.
“Practice representatives are in a state of data overload,” says a SIM practice coach. “They don’t know how to refine what they’re looking at. We’ve got them looking at so many different data sources, they don’t see how each source helps them. What we need to do, to sustain the progress made in SIM, is to teach people how to change the way they practice so that someone in the practice has time to look at and digest the data.”
This skill set prepares practices for success with APMs. One example: SIM practices designated as primary care medical providers in the Health First Colorado (Medicaid) Accountable Care Collaborative will have a “glide path” to participate in the new APM . SIM practices will not have to submit quality measures for the 2019 performance year and will receive full credit on the point scale for participation in SIM.
Please help the SIM team raise awareness about this unique opportunity and encourage practices to apply for cohort 3 before Jan. 19.
SIM helps practices empower patients
Representatives from Porter Primary Care, a cohort-1 SIM practice, say their participation in SIM has had a positive effect on patients during the latest episode of the SIM podcast series Innovation Insights. "We're empowering patients to be more active participants in their healthcare," says one care team member. Hear the full story and listen to all episodes on Soundcloud.
Your voice matters
SIM and Health First Colorado (Medicaid) are seeking your input on the use of telehealth and e-consults to improve patient access to care and identify barriers to use. Complete a short, telehealth/eConsult survey by Jan. 17, 2018, and encourage healthcare colleagues to do the same: . The information will be used to support the sustainability of SIM's telehealth efforts.
SIM releases data reports
Read the  latest installment of these rapid-cycle feedback reports, which are created by an independent evaluator, Triwest, to provide actionable feedback to inform program implementation. Each report focuses on a specific component of SIM, and this one, which covers April through June 2017, features comparisons of baseline and updated practice assessments. Individual topics in this report include data quality, provider satisfaction, behavioral health integrations, and quality measure reporting.  In addition to the quarterly rapid cycle feedback reports, TriWest delivered an annual report which covers the first grant year of SIM’s implementation (Feb 1, 2016 – June 30, 2017) and can be downloaded here .
SIM small grants update for cohort 2
SIM cohort-2 practices are eligible to apply (by Feb. 6) for up to $40,000 in small grants to meet SIM milestones and achieve their goals. This grant funding is made possible by a $3 million grant from the Colorado Health Foundation. A total of $1 million is allotted to cohort 2. Click here for more information about this opportunity, and contact Meg Quiat, SIM small grants administrator, ( with questions. 
New SIM blog for 2018
The SIM office is pleased to announce the launch of a new blog on the SIM website. This blog will feature monthly entries that will help tell the story of SIM and integrated care in the state. Read the first of these, Why ‘whole-person health’ matters to providers, patients, payers in Colorado, and check the SIM website often for new editions.
Signs of success: Colorado TCPi makes progress
There are 200 Colorado practices and 1,929 physicians participating in the Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative (TCPi), a governor’s office initiative that is reporting initial success. To date, Colorado TCPi providers have saved the healthcare system approximately $36 million toward the goal to save $85.9 million. This group represents more than 26 types of specialists, including a large group of behavioral health providers.

TCPi, which is part of the SIM team, is committed to improving the lives of 13,925 patients across nine “core” measures, such as tobacco cessation and emergency room admissions. As of September 2017, there were 7,174 demonstrable cases of improvement, which accounts for 51.5% of the goal. To learn more about this initiative visit the website and listen to this podcast with a TCPi provider. 
Connecting providers with local resources
Regional health connectors (RHCs), a new state workforce that is partially funded by SIM, are connecting practice teams with valuable resources to help patients live healthier lives and to help Colorado communities advance local health goals. For example:

  • The RHC in Broomfield and Boulder counties helped a practice secure funding from a local hospital for Mental Health First Aid training for clergy and others working with youth in the church next door to the practice.

  • In Weld County, the RHC is helping patients with food insecurity issues by providing information about local food banks, emergency food boxes and mobile food pantries with days, times and eligibility requirements to receive services.

  • The RHC from Mesa County connected practices to two telemedicine options to improve access to behavioral health treatment. 

  • The RHC in Pueblo ensured that practices and community health centers have access to Screening Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment trainings to address substance abuse disorders.

Check out what’s happening in your region, and contact the RHC to learn what an RHC can do for you.
Participate in the Medicaid APM survey
The Department of Health Care Policy & Financing (HCPF) will soon implement an alternative payment model for primary care (APM) and SIM practices are poised for success. A survey to select measures in the model is open and available on the HCPF website, where you’ll find pre-survey instructions, links to resources including the APM survival guide, and a short video demonstrating how to use the APM model. Please take the survey before it closes on Jan. 31. SIM providers, who are primary care medical providers in the HCPF Accountable Care Collaborative don't have to submit quality measures for the first year and will get full credit on the point scale. Click here to see an APM timeline for SIM providers.
QPP fast facts in 5 minutes
The Quality Payment Program (QPP) will begin Jan. 1, 2018, under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA). This program is an effort to drive clinician engagement and enhance the quality, cost effectiveness and health of the population. The Colorado QPP Coalition has been formed to help clinicians and their practice teams successfully transition to the new program. As part of this work, the Colorado QPP Coalition releases its fast facts in 5 minutes each month. For more information visit the Colorado QPP website and stay tuned to the SIM newsletter for more updates.  
Suggested reading
In the face of a fire, it’s natural—and essential—to reach for a fire extinguisher. The urgency we all feel to put a stop to a crisis, to relieve the immediate danger, can be palpable. This is the situation that we’re facing with one of the biggest, most uncontrollable “fires” burning in our country today: the epidemic of opioid and alcohol misuse, drug overdose, and growing rates of suicide.
Colorado is pushing for new approaches to how police officers handle cases involving mental illness and drug addiction, encouraging them to steer low-level offenders toward treatment rather than jail and giving them assistance in dealing with potentially dangerous situations.
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.