Colorado Program to Drive Down Health Care Costs, Improve Care Set to Launch in Cities Across Country

HHS Announces First Site Selections for Bennet-Authored Community-Based Care Transitions Program

Program Based on Work in Grand Junction and Denver in the Affordable Care Act; Has Potential to Save Hundreds of Millions of Dollars

Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet applauded the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announcement of the first site selections for the Community Based Care Transitions Program, which is based on work in Grand Junction and Denver that reduced hospital readmission rates among Medicare patients and could save hundreds of millions of dollars. The program was created from a bill written by Bennet which he successfully fought to include in the Affordable Care Act.

“This represents an important step toward bringing an innovative Colorado program to improve patient care and save taxpayers money to the national level,” said Bennet. “Colorado has shown the country that better-coordinated care and community collaborations can lead to higher-quality outcomes at a much lower cost to patients, hospitals and our health care system as a whole. Now, other communities across the country will have the same opportunities.”

The Community Based Care Transitions Program is part of the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Partnership for Patients, which incentivizes collaboration at the community level that will improve patient safety, lead to higher-quality care and bring down costs. According to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Partnership for Patients has the potential to save up to $35 billion in health care costs, including up to $10 billion for Medicare.  Over the next ten years, it could reduce costs to Medicare by about $50 billion and result in billions more in Medicaid savings.

As part of the partnership, this program will commit $500 million to community-based organizations partnering with eligible hospitals to help patients transition from hospitals to other settings of care. These resources will be awarded on a rolling basis, beginning with the seven sites announced today, including the Atlanta Community-Based Care Transitions Program, the Akron/Canton Area Agency on Aging, the Southwest Ohio Care Transitions Collaborative, the Southern Maine Agency on Aging/Aging and Disability Resource Center, the Area Agency on Aging Region One in Arizona, the Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley Inc in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, and the Council of Jewish Elderly in Chicago.

Last year, a Denver Post article reported that a Denver care transitions model pilot program “demonstrate[ed] hundreds of millions of dollars in potential Medicare savings.” Colorado Public Radio has reported on the nexus between Colorado’s work on Care Transitions and the Partnership for Patients, which can be found here.