Cara Welch, Colorado Hospital Association
(720) 330-6073 

Colorado Hospital Association Assists Task Force for Ensuring Access to Care in Vulnerable Communities

Date Nov. 29, 2016
GREENWOOD VILLAGE, COLO. – The American Hospital Association (AHA) today unveiled a report outlining a menu of options for communities, hospitals and policymakers to ensure that vulnerable rural and urban communities have access to essential health care services. As the hospital field engages in its most significant transformation to date, one out of three hospitals is fighting to survive – potentially putting communities at risk for losing their access to local health care services. The Colorado Hospital Association (CHA) was enlisted by the AHA to serve on the task force that developed today’s report.
CHA represents more than 100 hospitals and health systems throughout the state of Colorado, many of which provide necessary health care services for these vulnerable communities, especially in rural parts of the state. The Association has worked with its members, policymakers and other organizations for years to ensure that quality health care services continue to be accessible for all Coloradans.
In recognition of the challenges facing vulnerable rural and urban communities and the need for new integrated and comprehensive health care delivery and payment strategies, the AHA Board of Trustees created the Task Force for Ensuring Access to Vulnerable Communities. Comprised of 29 hospital and health system leaders and state hospital association CEOs – including Steven J. Summer, CHA president and CEO – the task force heard from policymakers and conducted field hearings to speak with hospital and community leaders during a 15-month period.
“Many hospitals face challenges maintaining access to health care services in their communities and this report provides a pathway to ensure every hospital has an opportunity to be an access point and an anchor of service,” said AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack. “The strategies outlined in this report can serve as a roadmap for all communities as hospitals begin to redefine how they provide more integrated care.”
The task force report outlines nine emerging strategies that can help preserve access to health care services in vulnerable communities. These strategies will not apply to or work for every community, and each community has the option to choose one or more that are compatible with its needs. The nine emerging strategies are:

  • Addressing the social determinants of health
  • Global budgets
  • Inpatient/outpatient transformation strategy
  • Emergency medical center
  • Urgent care center
  • Virtual care strategies
  • Frontier health system
  • Rural hospital-health clinic strategy
  • Indian health services strategies
“CHA and its member hospitals and health systems have been committed to ensuring access to health care services, and the work of this task force continues many of those efforts,” said Summer. “In the wake of the proposed state budget cut of nearly $390 million to hospitals, we believe the strategies outlined in today’s report and other creative strategies will become more important than ever as hospitals in Colorado’s vulnerable communities fight for survival. Maintaining access to health care services in the face of these cuts continues to be their highest priority.”
The AHA will work with Congress and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to create new payment models to support the successful implementation of the strategies. The AHA will also provide assistance and tools to communities and hospitals and health systems looking to adopt the task force-recommended strategies.
The report, with more detailed information on each strategy, case studies and a complete advocacy agenda and assistance strategy, is available at

About the Colorado Hospital Association
The Colorado Hospital Association (CHA) is the leading voice of Colorado’s hospital and health system community. Representing more than 100 member hospitals and health systems throughout the state, CHA serves as a trusted, credible and reliable resource on health issues, hospital data and trends for its members, media, policymakers and the general public. Through CHA, Colorado’s hospitals and health systems work together in their shared commitment to improve health and health care in Colorado. Learn more at

About the American Hospital Association
The AHA is a not-for-profit association of health care provider organizations and individuals that are committed to the health improvement of their communities. The AHA is the national advocate for its members, which includes more than 5,000 hospitals, health care systems, networks, other providers of care and 43,000 individual members. Founded in 1898, the AHA provides education for health care leaders and is a source of information on health care issues and trends. For more information, visit the AHA Web site at