Access to Care

Access to Care (ATC), including behavioral health is not guaranteed by having health care coverage, although the two issues are closely linked. While many people will gain health care coverage through Medicaid and subsidized insurance in the coming years, some may continue to face challenges in accessing care unless the capacity to care for the newly covered in Denver is increased. 

Before the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, approximately 104,000 persons in Denver, or nearly one in five persons, lack health insurance. An even higher number lack dental insurance, making it difficult for many to obtain medical, behavioral health, and dental care. Many others are underinsured, which inhibits them from accessing care and exposes them to high financial risks in the event of a major health crisis. 

By December of 2018, the five-year ATC goal is to increase the percentage of Denver residents that have access to primary medical care, including behavioral health, to 95%.

Additional Information

The ATC Task Force identified three objectives to ensure that at least 95% of Denver residents will have access to primary medical care, including behavioral health care by December 2018

Be Healthy Denver ACA Update 2015 Training Slides These training slides, available in English and Spanish, have been developed to assist organizations to educate their staff about the expansion of health care coverage under the ACA in 2014, updates for the second open enrollment period starting November 2014, and how they can help Denver residents get enrolled in Medicaid and insurance plans on Connect for Health Colorado. The slides may be used by any organization wishing to provide this training to their staff and partners.

Health Care Enrollment Options For more information regarding health care enrollment options and help with enrollment, contact the following resources:


Subsidized Health Insurance:

Be Healthy Denver Affordable Care Act Training Slides Be Healthy Denver's ATC Task Force developed these training slides to assist organizations to educate their staff about the expansion of health care coverage under the ACA in 2014, and how they can help Denver residents get enrolled in Medicaid and insurance plans through Connect for Health Colorado, by directing them to online and in-person enrollment sites. The slides are available in English  and Spanish and may be used by any organization wishing to provide this training to their staff and partners.

You Have New Options for Healthcare Coverage Brochure This brochure, in both English and Spanish, was produced by the Denver ATC Task Force to assist people in Denver to get enrolled in Medicaid and subsidized insurance plans at Connect for Health Colorado.  It gives information about these new forms of health coverage available starting in 2014 and provides information on how to get enrolled, including a map of enrollment sites in Denver where people can go for in-person enrollment assistance.  If you would like to order free copies of this brochure to distribute at your organization, please contact Kathleen Noland via email at or telephone (303)-602-3683. 

Video: The YouToons Get Ready for the Affordable Care Act Join the YouToons in this video as they help to explain the major parts of the ACA, which is changing the way Americans now receive health coverage.

Denver Vital Signs Denver Vital Signs is an electronic newsletter published bi-monthly highlighting important health topics in brief, ‘bite-sized’ amounts. View the September 2013 edition spotlighting ATC in Denver under the ACA in English and Spanish.

Access to Care Progress Report, August 2013 The ATC Progress Report details the work completed by the Access to Care Task Force, through August 2013. It outlines the need for insurance in Denver, identifies best practices in other communities, explains gaps and challenges in improving access to care among safety net providers in Denver, and outlines activities to increase access to care in Denver. 

Survey of Urban Health Alliances in Colorado, October 2013 The Survey of Urban Health Alliances in Colorado report summarizes information from key informant interviews with six health alliances coordinating a variety of health care issues in their areas, to inform the possible creation of a health alliance in Denver. It contains information about their missions, organizational structure, membership, funding, and programs, as well as their areas of strength and what they would recommend for a new alliance. The report concludes with issues to consider when forming a health alliance in Denver, and recommendations for initiating a strategic planning process to form such an alliance.  

Survey Results: Enrollment Practices and ACA Preparations in Denver, May 2013 Members of the ATC Task Force conducted a survey in April 2013 of 50 Denver-based safety net providers and other organizations. The survey gathered information about current enrollment practices for Medicaid, CHIP and other medical assistance programs, current preparations for the forthcoming expansion of Medicaid, and availability of subsidized health insurance through Connect for Health Colorado.

On May 29, 2014, the Denver Access to Care Task Force on hosted a large meeting of stakeholders involved in enrollment and advocacy efforts in Denver. The meeting included reviewing Denver’s progress to date with enrollment, and brainstorming about how to facilitate continued strong enrollment in Medicaid and a robust second enrollment period for Connect for Health Colorado. Please see the following documents:  

(1) A slide presentation that gives an update of Denver’s enrollment efforts to date, how the newly covered are accessing care, and how the new forms of coverage are assisting Denver’s safety net clinics to expand their capacity.

(2) A report summarizing ideas brought up in the meeting about what worked, what did not, and how to refocus enrollment efforts for both Medicaid and Connect for Health. This report can serve as a guide to assist a variety of stakeholders in re-vamping efforts to reach the remaining uninsured in Denver, and meeting Denver’s CHIP goal of having 94% of residents covered by 2018.

(3) Minutes of the meeting. 

Task Force Members - The Be Healthy Denver team would like to thank the following ATC Task Force Members for their important work in developing the CHIP and the ATC Action Plan:

Bill Burman, Co-Chair, Denver Public Health
Ned Calonge, Co-Chair, The Colorado Trust
Neysa Bermingham, Kaiser Permanente, Community Benefits
Louise Boris, Colorado Coalition for the Homeless
David Burgess, CHARG Resource Center
Kraig Burleson, Inner City Health Center
Mirna Castro, Servicios de La Raza
Carl Clark, Mental Health Center of Denver
Julie Farrar, Colorado Developmental Disabilities Council
Leigh Fischer, SBIRT Colorado and Peer Assistance Services
Chanel Freeman, Colorado Department of Human Services, Division of Behavioral Health
Jim Garcia, Clínica Tepeyac
Webster Hendricks, Colorado Department of Human Services, Division of Behavioral Health
Regina Huerter, Denver Department of Safety, Crime Prevention and Control Commission
Katie Langland, Denver Public Health, Prevention Training Center
Michele Lohman, University of Colorado Denver
Wanda Marshall, Denver Health, School-Based Health Centers
Lisa McCann, Denver Public Health
Emily McCormick, Denver Public Health
Paul Melinkovich, Denver Health, Community Health Services
Joe Sammen, Colorado Coalition for the Medically Underserved
Alok Sarwal, Colorado Alliance for Health Equity and Practice
Comilla Sasson, University of Colorado Denver
Sara Schmitt, Colorado Health Institute
John Simmons, Denver Public Schools, Student Services Division
Diane States, Denver Public Health & Denver Health Mobile Crisis Unit
Terry Stewart, Denver Public Health, Prevention Training Center
Kellie Teter, Denver Public Health
Denise Vincioni, State Controlled Substances Administrator
Michelle Wheeler, 2040 Partners for Health
Liz Whitley, Denver Health, Community Health Services
Lourdes, Yun, Denver Public Health

News & Information

CHIP 2014 Progress Report - Thursday, January 15, 2015
Community Health Improvement Plan 2014 Annual Progress Report- At the end of each year and periodically during the year we will release a progress update that shows our efforts and progress on all of the strategies in the 5 work group areas: Access to Care, Child Care, Schools, Community, and Government.  Here is the 2014 Annual CHIP Progress Report! 

Progress of Denver Residents Enrolling in Health Care Coverage - Friday, November 14, 2014

Denver has achieved great success in expanding coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2014. In just nine months, nearly 63,000 uninsured Denver residents have acquired coverage, and Denver’s rate of coverage has increased from 83% to nearly 93%! We are well on our way to reaching Denver's Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) goal of 94% coverage! We have an opportunity to continue to expand coverage through open enrollment, November 15, 2014 through February 15, 2015.


Food System Policies Report Released - Thursday, December 18, 2014
Denver's Environmental Health completed Food System Policies and Population Health: Moving Toward Collective Impact. The report provides an overview of the activities by multiple City and County of Denver agencies to address some aspect of the food system – from production, distribution and retail to consumption and composting. The report identifies and prioritizes food policy options that offer the greatest potential to impact population health.