Ready for Take Off: The 2017 Colorado Health Access Survey Goes Live

2017 will unquestionably be remembered as a historic year in health policy, considering the monumental changes likely coming from Washington. And assessing those changes on health care in Colorado will be aided by findings from the 2017 Colorado Health Access Survey (CHAS).

The 2017 CHAS went into the field today, setting the stage for one of the most important CHAS releases to date. Results from the telephone survey of 10,000 Coloradans will be released in September, providing Colorado policymakers and health care leaders a road map in understanding the impact of “full implementation” of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in Colorado.

The survey will also provide a baseline for measuring forthcoming changes promised by the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress. While the timing and details of “repeal and replace” are in flux, there are no doubts that at least some of the ACA will be on the chopping block.

The Colorado Health Institute (CHI) has added some new questions that will bolster these health reform tracking efforts. They fall into the following categories:

  • Health Savings Accounts
  • Affordability (premiums, deductibles, co-insurance)
  • Adequacy of Coverage (doctor choice, service coverage)
  • Barriers to Care (primary care, specialty care, wait times)

Besides tracking health care reform, the CHAS also provides data on key health indicators that measure how equitable and accessible the health care system is for all residents. New questions will be added to better understand the following health care indicators and how they vary across population:

  • Cultural Competency
  • Substance Use Treatment and Barriers
  • Mental Health Care Utilization
  • Advanced Care Planning

The full survey tool can be found here.

The Colorado Health Foundation and Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing are sponsoring a few of these new questions. The Colorado Trust is the primary funder of the CHAS and has been since its inception.

As we gear up for 2017, I also want to recap some of the 2015 survey’s biggest hits:

1.      STAFF PICK: CHAS Data Workbook

Here you will find all of the data cleaned and ready to go. It is organized by topic, region, and demographic characteristics. (Expert tip: don’t see what you need here? Email

 2. USER FAVORITE: A New Day in Colorado: Health Insurance Reaches Record High

This is the hallmark CHAS chartpack, a one-stop shop for the key findings from the survey. The chartpack is filled with infographics and top-level findings.

 3. LOCAL’S AWARD (tie): Uneven Progress: 2015 Health Insurance by Zip Code in Colorado and Getting Granular: New CHI Model Estimates Access to Care at the Zip Code-Level

Regional data can obscure local health care trends. That’s why CHI created a model for predicting CHAS data at the Zip code level.

4. WONK WIN: Mission Invincible: Addressing the True Reasons Why Young Adults Are Uninsured

This regression analysis busted some myths about why young adults are disproportionately uninsured. Spoiler alert: They don’t think they’re invincible.

 5.      MOST MEMORABLE: Mapping Data A to Z

A-B-C, it’s as easy as 1-2-3! The whole CHI gang teamed up to produce a first-of-its-kind story map analyzing 26 CHAS maps — one for every letter of the alphabet. We bent the rules for “X” … Don’t tell! 

Natalie Triedman is a policy analyst at CHI.