A new analysis using data in the Colorado All Payer Claims Database (CO APCD) is now available to help identify counties across Colorado with populations at high risk for severe illness from COVID-19. The interactive map enables public health officials, state agencies, hospitals, physicians and others to identify areas where high concentrations of vulnerable populations exist. This information is vital to support current efforts to address the pandemic and prepare for future waves anticipated in the months to come.
This analysis helps the state and communities understand the impact that infection may have in certain areas. Combined with other data sources, this information is critical to help us prepare for future waves of the pandemic and anticipate needs for expanded access to care. For example, the results show that Morgan and Logan counties have a large percentage of younger people (45 to 64 years) at risk for severe disease, and according to CDPHE, those counties also have a high rate of infection. Additional protection and access to care should be considered in areas at risk for severe COVID-19 disease, and additional resources might be particularly urgent if high-infection rates also exist.
“If we know where COVID-19 is more likely to cause serious harm, we’ll be able to focus more resources and attention in those areas in terms of education and prevention, and ensure there is adequate access to tests, telehealth, hospital and physician resources, and more,” explained Ana English, CIVHC President and CEO.
The data is sortable by age group, type of health insurance, gender, and medical condition and includes information for the vast majority of Coloradans, making it an invaluable resource to prepare and plan for the future. The analysis takes into consideration multiple high risk factors identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) including:
- People 65 and older
- Nursing Home and Long Term Care residents
- Anyone living with one or more of the following conditions:
- Chronic lung disease
- Serious heart conditions
- Immunocompromised conditions
- Severe obesity
- Chronic kidney disease
- Liver disease
- Tobacco use (smoking)
Several of the first counties to report cases in the state – Eagle and Gunnison – have some of the lowest rates of people living with high risk factors, which may explain the relatively low number of deaths reported in those areas. Other rural counties across the state, like Teller, Custer, and Fremont Counties, have a high percentage of people at risk of complications, mostly due to higher concentrations of people 65 years of age or older, and people living with chronic lung disease and diabetes.
It’s important to note this information does not inform how many people may test positive for the virus or contract it, but rather, if exposed, what portion of the population may need hospitalization or treatment given their age, residence or health status. Additionally, this analysis does not include people without insurance and does not consider other issues that contribute to vulnerability such as race, ethnicity, poverty levels and other social risk factors. CIVHC is evaluating overlaying this analysis with other data sources to provide more information about social risk factors in the future.
This is the first of several public COVID-19 related analyses CIVHC is developing using data in the CO APCD to provide stakeholders with useful information to address this pandemic crisis. Two additional reports – potential cost and utilization impact of postponing elective services and an assessment of the adoption of telehealth services – are anticipated to be released in the coming weeks.
Additional data analyses will be possible as claims for March and April of 2020 are available and processed in the data warehouse later this year. Potential analyses include deeper evaluation of the adoption of telehealth services across the state, the impact of COVID-19 on behavioral health issues including mental health, and understanding how health insurance coverage has been affected, among others.
If you have an idea for a COVID-19 related analysis, we’d love to hear from you. Please send your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.