Colorado Community Health Centers Win Grant to Improve Care for Medicare Beneficiaries and Other Patients

Community Health Centers in Black Hawk, Boulder, Colorado Springs, Denver, Glenwood Springs, Lamar, Loveland, Strasburg, Thornton to Participate in Three-Year Demonstration to Improve Care

Denver, CO – Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet today applauded several community health centers across Colorado that have won resources from the Department of Health and Human Services over the next three years to improve coordination and care for Medicare beneficiaries and other patients.

“Coloradans all across our state depend on community health centers for their primary source of care, especially in rural and mountain areas,” said Bennet. “This program will help improve care for patients at several Colorado community health centers. It will also pave the way for more innovation designed to drive down costs, improve and expand care, and add similar patient-centered programs to additional community health centers around the state.”

Under this Advanced Primary Care Practice demonstration, which was created by the Affordable Care Act, Medicare will pay community health centers based on the quality of care they deliver. This improved payment system will reward clinics for such things as helping patients manage chronic conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure. In addition, health centers can use this funding to expand their hours, make same day appointments and accommodate patients with urgent care needs.

The following community health centers in Colorado will participate in the Advanced Primary Care Practice:

  • Clinica Campesina Family Health, Boulder
  • Clinica Campesina Family Health, Thornton
  • Denver Health and Hospital Authority, Denver
  • High Plains Community Health Center, Lamar
  • Mountain Family Health Centers, Black Hawk
  • Mountain Family Health Centers, Glenwood Springs
  • Peak Vista Community Health Center, Colorado Springs
  • Plains Medical Center Inc., Strasburg
  • Sunrise Community Health Inc., Loveland

The demonstration will be conducted from November 1, 2011 through October 31, 2014. Participating health centers will be paid a monthly fee for each eligible person with Medicare who receives primary care services. The CMS Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (Innovation Center) and the Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) will provide technical assistance to help participating community health centers throughout the demonstration.

To study the process and challenges involved in transforming community health centers into advanced primary care practices, the Innovation Center will conduct an independent evaluation of the demonstration. The evaluation will assess the project’s impact on hospital admission rates, emergency department visits rates, and access, quality and cost of care provided to Medicare beneficiaries. The evaluation will also assess whether the demonstration was cost effective.

Last week, Bennet unveiled a first-of-its-kind comprehensive collection of clear, easy-to-find and accurate information on the pilot projects, grants and workforce development initiatives available to Coloradans through the Affordable Care Act. The “Guide for Grants in the Affordable Care Act” includes a directory of departments and offices in charge of administering the programs and is organized by Title of the ACA. Included is a grant description, application timeline, most recent appropriation and information on eligibility requirements.

For more information on the “Guide for Grants” and resources available to Colorado health care providers, please visit Bennet's website.