The last few months have been some of the most intense and rewarding I’ve experienced during my time at CIVHC. January kicked off a legislative session where more policymakers than ever reached out to use the Colorado All Payer Claims Database (CO APCD) to inform discussions related to pending legislation. After months of working with our partners at the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF), hearings with the Joint Budget Committee, rounds of questions, and debates on the floors of both the House and Senate, Governor Polis signed the 2019/2020 Long Bill Budget into law in mid-April. A budget, which included new operating funds for the CO APCD that, in addition to the CMS 50/50 funding, allows for funding of core operating expenses and additional enhanced services.
Being included in the State budget is a significant milestone for CIVHC and the CO APCD. In 2010, when the General Assembly mandated creating the database, Colorado wasn’t in a position to include a fiscal note to fund the CO APCD. Generously, the Colorado Health Foundation and The Colorado Trust provided essential funding to CIVHC to help implement and develop the CO APCD. The foundations were very clear from the beginning, however, that their financial support would be short term and CIVHC would need to reach a position of CO APCD sustainability without grant dollars.
This put CIVHC in stormy seas at the outset. With over 4.5 million claims submitted and processed monthly, the CO APCD is a mammoth asset that requires roughly $4.5 million a year to operate. Out of necessity, during the early years it was “all hands on deck”, with many of us rowing to stay afloat while the rest of us built the deck and manned the rigging. We learned fast and sometimes it felt like we made mistakes faster. Through hard work and determination, we made the CO APCD one of the most comprehensive claims datasets in the nation, did our best to serve as many Change Agents as we could with transparent, actionable data, and fought every day to reach sustainability.
They say “a rising tide lifts all ships,” and that’s what this new State funding is going to do, not only for the CO APCD but for our stakeholder partners across Colorado. For the first time, CIVHC will have a steady sea and strong wind, allowing us to simply sail and not build the boat or bail water while navigating. Through our work with the State, we’ll be able to do foundational analytics that will, in turn, benefit all of our partners. For example, on the horizon we have:
- data to support implementing the primary care and out of network bills;
- information supporting employer-based coalitions with data including Medicare reference-based prices;
- pharmacy rebate and alternative payment model data;
- expansion of PROMETHEUS episode-based price information;
- low-value care analytics, and more.
This is an inspiring time to be at CIVHC with a renewed, invigorated focus on providing high quality, actionable information. Already we’re making our little ship watertight, tightening our processes, and unfurling our sails. Soon we will catch this fair wind and sail collectively with all of our partners to advance data, create knowledge, and improve lives across Colorado.
By Ana English, MBA, CIVHC’s President and CEO