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Colorado Selected to Lead Health Care Improvement Effort

July 20, 2009

DENVER – As health care reform whirls around the national stage this summer, 15 community clinics in Colorado are already getting started on a pilot project to improve the system. They're taking part in a new initiative to improve care at the so-called "safety-net clinics" for low-income Coloradans.

Jessica Sanchez is the clinical quality division director at Colorado Community Health Network, the group heading the national demonstration project in the state. She says the goals for the project will sound familiar to anyone following the health care debate: "To improve access, improve patient satisfaction, some improvement in cost savings."

Colorado was one of five states selected for the four-year initiative, funded by a handful of health improvement organizations including the Colorado Health Foundation, Commonwealth Fund and Qualis Health of Seattle. Sanchez says if the project is successful, Colorado's safety-net clinics will serve as a model for other clinics across the country to improve their own operations and patient care while working to cut costs.

Sanchez says that the clinics chosen for the project are on the front lines when it comes to keeping many Coloradans healthy.

"Some of the safety-net clinics are the only clinic for care, so they are actually seeing all patients in their area."

Sanchez says the hope is that clinics will be able to take a long, hard look at their operation and find ways to improve and cut costs.

"It provides the clinic the opportunity to examine their clinic flow and to be more efficient with the way they're delivering that care."

More information is available at www.coloradohealth.org.

Eric Mack, Public News Service - CO