Colorado State Innovation Model

In December 2014, the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Innovation (CMMI) awarded Colorado up to $65 million in the form of a cooperative agreement to test its State Innovation Model (SIM). Colorado’s vision for SIM was founded on the core belief that the integration of physical and behavioral health is central to successful and sustainable health care reform. Colorado established a dedicated SIM Office that has worked across agencies, sectors and geographic regions to achieve its ambitious goal: to integrate physical and behavioral health care services in coordinated community systems, with value-based payment structures, for 80% of state residents by 2019. 

In working to make this vision a reality, SIM has touched nearly every aspect of health care in Colorado. SIM supported 344 primary care practices and four Community Mental Health Centers across the state as they progressed along a continuum of integrated care. Recognizing the crucial role that health plans play in sustaining change and driving value, SIM worked with seven public and private payers in a unique Multi-Payer Collaborative to support practices with Alternative Payment Models. SIM engaged the public health system in Colorado to create a robust Plan for Improving Population Health and then invested in Local Public Health Agencies and Behavioral Health Transformation Collaboratives to advocate for progress at the local level. To ensure that integrated care was delivered in coordinated community systems, SIM launched an innovative new workforce of Regional Health Connectors dedicated to linking practices with community resources. 

SIM supported the professionals undertaking integration with specialized workforce development and education opportunities. SIM also worked to expand existing Health Information Technology (HIT) infrastructure and to create new HIT solutions in order to facilitate data sharing and ease provider burden. Throughout the initiative, SIM monitored practice-level, claims and population health data to track progress and identify areas needing improvement. 

Advancements made during the initiative reflect the expertise and tenacity of hundreds of stakeholders who guided SIM strategies and implementation. These partners will continue to play a critical role in maintaining momentum toward providing sustainable, whole-person care. While progress was not always easy, lessons learned from challenges in implementation will help to guide future health care reform initiatives. The entire SIM team is proud to have played a role in Colorado’s ongoing journey to become the healthiest state in the nation and look forward to supporting new innovations in the future. 

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