Report shows plan for healthier Colorado

The state of Colorado hopes to become the healthiest state in the nation by investing in health care, engaging the public in healthy activities and forming public-private partnerships aimed at strengthening health care and insurance coverage and capacity.

The office of Gov. John Hickenlooper outlined these goals in a new report released last week, “The State of Health: Colorado’s Commitment to Become the Healthiest State.” In a forward in the report, Hickenlooper wrote the report is based on information gathered last year from thousands of Colorado residents by TBD Colorado, a state initiative group that hosted 70 community meetings statewide last spring to poll residents about health, education, transportation, the state budget and Colorado’s workforce.

Hickenlooper said making Colorado the healthiest state in the U.S. “is not an easy task” but he believes achieving that goal will impact more than just the health care system in Colorado.

“Better health is not just good for individuals and families; it has positive outcomes for our workforce, reducing the costs of government, and improving the quality of life in our communities,” he wrote.

The report outlines four goals for improving Colorado’s health and says the state will track its success through a handful of nationwide health rating systems. The four goals are:

■ To promote prevention and wellness in order to help people remain or become healthy.

■ To expand coverage, access and capacity to allow more people to access health care.

■ To improve health system integration and quality by streamlining health care information systems to improve individual care.

■ To enhance the value and strengthen the sustainability of the health care system; in other words, to redesign the health care system to place priority on health care quality, not quantity.

The report centers mostly on ongoing efforts and possibilities for the future. Ideas for future developments include state support for programs focused on healthy eating and living, incorporating mental health care into physical health services, growing the health workforce through partnerships with state institutions and developing a State Health IT Strategy that brings state departments and stakeholders together to make eligibility, enrollment and claims for state services easier to access or obtain.

The report includes a list of target dates for certain health-related initiatives to begin and for targets to be achieved between 2014 and 2018. Those targets include having fewer uninsured Coloradans by 2018, increasing the number of primary care providers in the state by 2015 and decreasing the number of obese Coloradans by 2016.

The governor’s office plans to publish annual updates to the state’s plan to become healthier, according to the report.

The full report is available at


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