Out of the Office, Into the Community

You might imagine the life of a CHI-er as being spent in the office crunching numbers and scouring scientific and academic literature. While we do spend a chunk of our time researching and writing reports, we are also out in the community delivering presentations, participating in stakeholder meetings and sitting on panels. And this week a lot of us will do just that.

This past Thursday, our inaugural Brews and Views event brought a group of Colorado’s health care thinkers together at the Denver Beer Company to discuss the King vs. Burwell case over some craft beer. The expert panel of CU law professor Melissa Hart, health care attorney Gerry Niederman and insurance benefits executive Leo Tokar answered questions from the audience and gave their own take on the case. You can read Senior Communications Expert Joe Hanel’s recap blog here.

Last week was a busy one for Policy Analyst Jessica Fern, who represented CHI at three stakeholder meetings. The Colorado Patient Navigator and Community Health Worker Collaborative is a statewide coalition, which includes state and local agencies, advocacy groups, philanthropic organizations and representatives from both public and private health plans. The group was formed in an effort to align various patient navigator and community health worker groups within the state, and to identify a sustainable model for this work.

Jessica also attended two meetings focused on healthy schools. The Colorado Coalition for Healthy Schools supports statewide infrastructure and systems to promote healthy schools through policy, surveillance and partnerships. The Healthy Schools Collective Impact group is an initiative supported by the Colorado Education Initiative to engage partners and stakeholders in the discussion of healthy schools. Jessica is participating on the nutrition and student health services workgroups.

We are halfway through the legislative session and continue to respond to legislative information requests and provide learning opportunities to legislators and their staff members. Last Wednesday, Senior Analyst Tasia Sinn and Senior Director for Policy and Analysis Amy Downs made a presentation on federal waivers at our first Links and Learn breakfast. You can find the presentation along with audio here.

Earlier today, Amy and President and CEO Michele Lueck made a presentation to the Colorado Commission on Affordable Health Care on levers to reduce the price and quantity of health care. CHI has been contracted by the cost commission to provide data and analysis for the group.  

Senior Analyst Tasia Sinn will be presenting data at the first meeting of the No Wrong Door planning group on Tuesday. The group will be responsible for developing a three-year implementation plan for a No Wrong Door system for people to access long-term services and supports. The Colorado Health Institute will be attending the meetings, presenting data and ultimately writing the implementation plan.

This Wednesday, Director of Community Health Policy Sara Schmitt and Research Analyst Hannah Wear will present findings of CHI’s latest publication – Filling the Dental Gap: Can Colorado Meet the Growing Need? – to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Oral Health Collaborative. This is the first of a number of presentations the pair will give on this paper in the coming weeks.

CHI is keeping a close eye on discussions at the state Board of Education and the legislature about the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey (HKCS). The Board of Education this week is scheduled to vote on whether to require parents to grant permission for their children to take the survey. Currently, parents have the option to refuse to let their children take the survey. Critics of the survey say it asks intrusive questions on topics like drugs and sex that should be kept between parents and kids.

CHI does not lobby policymaking boards like the Board of Education. At the same time, the survey is an important source of data on the health of Colorado’s youth, and we are closely following this debate.

Tamara is a Policy Analyst at CHI.