Colorado to create state office to lead the effort to coordinate primary care and behavioral health care

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Gov. John Hickenlooper on Monday announced the creation of a state office that will lead the effort to coordinate primary care and behavioral health care throughout Colorado.

The State Innovation Model (SIM) Office will, in conjunction with the State Innovation Model Advisory Board, use a $65 million federal grant that the state has received to achieve its aims. An executive order signed by Hickenlooper continues the office through January 2019.

Leaders of the office and board will develop a state health care innovation plan that will integrate physical and behavioral health services in a way that most primary- and specialty-care physicians’ offices do not do. Hickenlooper has made this part of his strategy to make Colorado the healthiest state in the nation.

“The comprehensive and collaborative measures that will be undertaken by the SIM Office is the first of its kind in Colorado and will help drive our efforts to transform health and healthcare in Colorado,” the Democratic governor said.

The SIM office will examine the use of outcome-based payments to achieve that integration, among other ideas. The board will provide recommendation on integration and will oversee and guide the activities of the office, state leaders said.

“Our plan is to engage individuals in Colorado with their care and enhance services throughout the state,” said Vatsala Pathy, director of the SIM Office. “This is an extraordinary opportunity to engage in dialogue and provide solutions for population health and consumer engagement, workforce development, health information technology and data measures, payers, policy and evaluation as well as service delivery and practice transformation for health care in Colorado.”