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Access to Care

Having access to medical and behavioral health care is not necessarily guaranteed when one has health insurance; however, having health care coverage is linked to improved access to care. While many people continue to gain health insurance through Medicaid and subsidized insurance since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) came into effect,  some may continue to face challenges in accessing care unless the capacity to provide care for the newly covered in Denver is increased.

Before implementation of the ACA in 2014, approximately 108,000 people in Denver – nearly one in five residents – lacked health insurance. An even higher number lack dental insurance. Many others are underinsured, which restricts them from accessing care, and opens them to financial risks in the event of a major health crisis.  

By December 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%.


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

  • Affordable Care Act Update 2015 Training Slides – These training slides are to help organizations educate staff about the health care coverage expansion, updates for the second open enrollment, and how to help residents enroll in Medicaid and other insurance plans. The slides are available in English and Spanish. These may be used by individuals or organizations interested in learning more about Affordable Care Act implementation in Denver.
  • Affordable Care Act Training Slides  – These training slides are to help organizations educate staff about the health care coverage expansion in 2014, and how to help residents enroll in Medicaid and insurance plans. The slides are available in English and Spanish and may be used by any organization to train their staff and partners.
  • Health Care Enrollment Options – For more information regarding health care enrollment options and help with enrollment, contact the following resources:
  • Enrollment efforts review after the first open enrollment period – In May 2014, Be Healthy Denver hosted a large stakeholder meeting to review enrollment progress, and brainstorm how to continue strong enrollment in Medicaid and Connect for Health Colorado, the State’s health insurance exchange. This slide presentation gives an update on Denver enrollment efforts, including how the newly covered are accessing care and how the new coverage forms are assisting clinics to expand their capacity. This report summarizes ideas brought up in the meeting. This information can serve as a guide for stakeholders to reach the remaining uninsured.
  • You Have New Options for Healthcare Coverage Brochure – This brochure, in both English and Spanish, helps people enroll in Medicaid and insurance plans at Connect for Health Colorado.  It provides information about the types of health coverage and provides instructions on how to enroll. If you would like to order free copies of this brochure to distribute at your organization, please contact Kathleen Noland via at or (303)-602-3683. 
  • The YouToons Get Ready for the Affordable Care Act Video – Join the YouToons in this video as they help to explain the major parts of the ACA.
  • Denver Vital SignsDenver Vital Signs is an electronic newsletter published bi-monthly highlighting important health topics in brief, ‘bite-sized’ amounts. View the August 2014 edition spotlighting ATC in Denver under the ACA in English and Spanish.

  • Access to Care Progress Report, August 2013 - This report  details the ATC Task Force work, and provides baseline data before the expansion. It outlines the need for insurance, identifies best practices in other communities, explains safety net provider challenges, and activities to increase access to care. 
  • Survey of Urban Health Alliances in Colorado, October 2013 - This survey summarizes key interviews with six health alliances in Denver. These alliances are coordinating a variety of health care issues in their areas. It contains information about their missions, structure, membership, funding, programs, areas of strength, and what they would recommend to a new alliance. The report concludes with issues to consider when forming a health alliance in Denver, and recommendations for a strategic planning process.
  • Survey Results: Enrollment Practices and ACA Preparations in Denver, May 2013 – 50 Denver-based safety net providers and other organizations were surveyed to gather information about current enrollment practices for Medicaid, CHIP and other medical assistance programs, preparations for the Medicaid expansion, and availability of 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. 

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



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