Colorado’s Homebound Population Receiving COVID Vaccines
Thursday, June 3, 2021
DENVER - State health agencies are continuing to help people with disabilities who are physically unable to leave their homes to get COVID-19 vaccines, but work still is needed to reach some of the state's most vulnerable residents not already in Medicaid and other databases.
Bonnie Silva - director of the community living office with the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing - said so far, local vaccine providers have been tapped to serve almost 95% of the state's identified homebound population.
"Our goal was, 'How do we leverage local solutions where those are in place?' And so literally going county by county, region by region in Colorado so that we could understand what local solutions they had in place, and how as a state entity we could support them," said Silva.
Silva's team surveyed city and county health agencies, and identified fire departments, ambulance services and other providers who were able to bring vaccines directly to homes.
Vaccines are administered to homebound residents and anyone else nearby who wants one.
To reach people of color and traditionally harder-to-reach communities, Silva said regional agencies worked with trusted voices including church leaders and nonprofits including ARC of Colorado and the Colorado Cross Disability Coalition.
Silva said the biggest blind spot continues to be people who are homebound or experiencing homelessness and unable to travel, but are not connected to services. She encouraged all Coloradans to help her team reach those who want vaccines by calling their toll-free hotline, 1-877-COVAXCO, or 877-268-2926.
"Call on behalf of maybe a neighbor or friend," said Silva. "Just really make sure that every Coloradan who wants the vaccine is able to get one, and to hear that we have the infrastructure in place to make sure that they are, in fact, able to get it."
The Colorado Department of Health has issued a request for proposals, to find a single vendor to manage the work of getting health services to the state's homebound residents over the longer term. The contract is expected to be awarded by mid-July.
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