DENVER — Tuesday, June 23, 2015 – Gov. John. Hickenlooper today commended the commitments by six Colorado health insurers and the state’s Medicaid program to adopt reforms that set the stage for broader integration of behavioral and physical healthcare in Colorado.
The healthcare insurers who are have made these transformational commitments are Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna, Colorado Access, Colorado Choice Health Plans, Rocky Mountain Health Plans and UnitedHealthcare. Colorado’s Medicaid program also has pledged to change practices in similar ways.
The plans, voluntarily crafted by each of the health care payers, vary in detail and are shaped to meet the different customer bases and business platforms of each payer. Yet, the reforms all support Colorado’s State Innovation Model (SIM), an ambitious effort to integrate medical and behavioral health care and ensure the payment structures are in place to make that happen.
In December, the state received a $65 million federal grant and engaged in a cooperative agreement to implement this initiative.
“Colorado has a long and remarkable history of collaboration when it comes to serious issues that affect the lives of Coloradans,” Hickenlooper said. “This commitment from health insurers and the state Medicaid program is another chapter in that book and a huge step in making Colorado the healthiest state. We applaud these healthcare leaders for taking this step.”
Colorado was awarded the SIM grant by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to create a coordinated, accountable system of care that gives Coloradans access to integrated primary care and behavioral health. The state will use the funding over the next four years to further develop and implement a blueprint to achieve this aim.
“Today was a significant step forward for Coloradans who will benefit from the integration of physical and behavioral health,” said Susan E. Birch, Health Care Policy and Financing Executive Director. “We understand the connections between mind and body, and integration of behavioral health with physical health services is a critical need for Colorado and our nation.”
“Supporting integrated care and the State Innovation Model is part of our ongoing effort to invest in the primary care doctor-patient relationship and help Coloradans live their best lives possible,” said Mike Ramseier, president of Anthem. “Programs like this are fundamental to Anthem’s mission to lower health care cost while delivering high quality care, which is why this will be our new way of contracting with all primary care providers going forward.”
“We look at people holistically - which means supporting their physical and mental well-being. In fact, nearly all of our employer clients in Colorado have both behavioral and medical services through Cigna,” said Kim Bimestefer, president and general manager for Cigna’s Mountain States Region. “This allows us to improve health, reduce costs and enhance the overall experience for individuals. We look forward to working with Gov. Hickenlooper and his team to expand integrated care across the state.”
“When we work together as payers and providers to transform the delivery of care, we can make a real difference in the lives of families and communities,” said Marshall Thomas, Colorado Access President and Chief Executive Officer. “At Colorado Access we strive to promote patient-centered care. In order to care for the whole person we have to provide integrated services at the time and place that is most convenient for the patient. We are proud to support the State Innovation Model.”
“We’re excited to support this much needed integration of primary care and behavioral health into rural communities. Rural communities often get overlooked when it comes to innovative models that require commitment on new reimbursement methodologies for sustainability,” said Cynthia Palmer, Chief Executive Officer of Colorado Choice Health Plans.
“Behavior is a major factor in overall health. We need to close gaps and make it easier for people to access behavioral health services wherever they receive care – and when they need it most,” said Steve ErkenBrack, Rocky Mountain Health Plans’ CEO.
“Colorado is ahead of the curve when it comes to innovative solutions that drive modernization and new approaches to health care,” said Beth Soberg, President and Chief Executive Officer of UnitedHealthcare of Colorado. “In conjunction with other health plans, Gov. Hickenlooper’s office and our colleagues at the SIM Project, UnitedHealthcare of Colorado is committed to the mission of improving whole health and affordability of care across Colorado. This is the next step in delivering on that mission.”