Jason Cleckler, CEO of Delta County Memorial Hospital received the American Hospital Association (AHA) 2018 Grassroots Champion award at the recent Colorado Hospital Association (CHA) CEO Forum in Vail on July 12, 2018. Each year, AHA partners with state hospital associations to recognize the achievements of grassroots leaders who effectively deliver the hospital message to elected officials; help broaden the base of community support for hospitals; and advocate tirelessly on behalf of patients, hospitals and communities.
Colorado Hospital Association and its member hospitals and health systems would like to thank Senators Cheri Jahn and Kevin Priola and Representative Brittany Pettersen, for their leadership in sponsoring House Bill 18-1136. This landmark legislation, which passed the Senate unanimously on third reading this morning will close a gap in coverage for Coloradans long-struggling with substance abuse disorders. As a result, individuals insured by Medicaid will have consistent coverage of physical and behavioral health conditions for the first time.
CHA has announced the release of the Colorado Hospital Price Report, recently updated to offer health care consumers a wide selection of data from Colorado hospitals on a user-friendly platform. CHA believes that all health care consumers should have access to meaningful information pertaining to their chosen health care facilities. The available data provides consumers useful, up-to-date information regarding price and quality outcomes when they are making important decisions about where to go for their health care.
“We applaud the focus on continuing to improve health outcomes as is often included in value-based payments models, but believe that to create a truly affordable health care model, the total cost of care must be managed.” said Steven Summer, CHA president and CEO. “The Association believes that to be truly successful, the blueprint will need to ensure its scope on payment reform includes state, federal and private sector payers and needs to include all components of health care.”
CHA released results of the Colorado Opioid Safety Pilot. Beginning in June 2017, CHA and its member hospitals conducted a six-month pilot in eight Colorado hospital emergency departments (EDs) and two freestanding emergency departments (FSEDs) with the goal of reducing the administration of opioids by ED clinicians. This initiative, one of the largest opioid research efforts in the United States, used treatment guidelines developed by the Colorado Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians (Colorado ACEP) that recommend the use of alternatives to opioids (ALTOs) as a first-line treatment for pain rather than opioids.
All participating members successfully implemented the pilot, which returned remarkable results. The EDs achieved a 36 percent reduction in opioid administrations when compared to the same time period in 2016, far surpassing the original pilot goal of a 15 percent reduction. This amounted to a projection of 35,000 fewer individual opioid administrations between the 2017 pilot and the 2016 baseline period.
The Colorado Hospital Association (CHA) recently announced the promotions of two members of the executive team, effective Jan. 1. Chris Tholen has been promoted to Executive Vice President, and Katherine Mulready has been promoted to Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer. Both Tholen and Mulready come from distinguished backgrounds in the healthcare community and were instrumental in last year’s passing of a bill which has been called “Colorado’s most significant piece of legislation in the past 10 years”.
Colorado Hospital Association Partners with Colorado Office of Behavioral Health to Promote Opioid Safety Initiatives
CHA is pleased to announce that it received a $650,000 contract from the Colorado Office of Behavioral Health (OBH) as part of a two-year OBH Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration State Targeted Response to the Opioid Crisis Grant. CHA will provide resources and expertise to support OBH efforts in rural and urban hospitals and health care facilities as part of a multi-year Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) pilot that combines behavioral therapy and medication to treat opioid use disorder. The MAT pilot results will be used to develop strategies for broader implementation. The Association will also partner with OBH to provide statewide education programs as OBH and the State of Colorado expand their efforts to combat the opioid crisis.
Lutheran Medical Center’s Clostridium Difficile (C. diff) Prevention Team was honored with the 2017 Michael J. Skolnik Award for Patient Safety at the Colorado Hospital Association (CHA) Patient Safety Leadership Conference. The team’s work focused on education and awareness to obtain a greater than 50 percent reduction in C. diff cases at its facility. The multidisciplinary team at Lutheran Medical Center, with senior level executive sponsorship, developed protocols that were shared throughout the hospital system. The team also leveraged the hospital’s participation in the CHA Antimicrobial Stewardship initiative, which focused on the proper prescribing of antibiotics to reduce the incidence of health-care-associated infections like C. diff.
On behalf of more than 100 member hospitals and health systems across the state of Colorado, CHA urges legislators to oppose the Cassidy-Graham-Heller bill, as it will have a significant and harmful impact on all Coloradans as well as Colorado hospitals and the communities they serve. Because Colorado opted to expand Medicaid under the ACA, the magnitude of cuts under this legislation will be of historic proportions. Moreover, CHA is gravely concerned that initial losses will continue to grow in future years as the federal health care funding for low-income Americans continues to decrease.
The Colorado Hospital Association (CHA) added a wealth of new talent and perspectives to the CHA Board of Trustees at an election held during the Association’s 2017 Annual Meeting in Vail. Frank May, CEO, Yampa Valley Medical Center (Steamboat Springs), will serve as the 2018 Chairman of the CHA Board of Trustees. Jena Hausmann, president and CEO, Children’s Hospital (Aurora), was selected as Chairman-Elect. Kevin Unger, president and CEO of Medical Center of the Rockies (Loveland) and Poudre Valley Hospital (Fort Collins), will continue in the role of Secretary/Treasurer.
The Colorado Hospital Association (CHA) and its member hospitals and health systems have long been committed to protecting coverage for all Coloradans. CHA is grateful to Gov. John Hickenlooper for his leadership and willingness to work in a bipartisan manner to introduce ideas to strengthen the nation’s health care insurance markets.
“Unfortunately, the draft bill released today by Senate leadership threatens to move Colorado in the wrong direction, especially for our most vulnerable patients,” said Steven J. Summer, president and CEO, CHA. “The proposal could cause deep cuts to Medicaid that covers thousands of Coloradans, including those with disabilities and many children. It will be particularly harmful to rural Colorado communities. We strongly urge Senators Bennet and Gardner to continue working on this proposal to develop legislation that will move Colorado forward – instead of setting us back – and will protect coverage for Coloradans.”