This post was written by Gretchen Hammer, a previous member of our team.
It feels good to win.
This October, CCMU was honored to win five Gold Leaf Awards from the Colorado Healthcare Communicators. In total, we won two bronze leaves, one silver leaf won in collaboration with the Colorado Children’s Campaign, and two gold leaves.
Our first Gold Leaf was for our blog. Each week we share a new blog post from one of the six staff at CCMU. This approach represents a conscious effort by CCMU to ensure that the great thoughts of all of our staff contribute to a forward looking and productive narrative about health, health care and the underserved. I encourage you to visit regularly.
Our second Gold Leaf was for our infographic series. There are many reasons to be proud about our infographics. First, thanks to the amazing visual and technical talents of our Director of Communications, Sarah Mapes, they just look cool. Second, the infographics have made data that is critical for us to understand about the health experiences of diverse Coloradans more available and accessible.
Health data can be complicated and it is easy to fall into a trap of focusing on broad-based, blunt metrics. But at its core, health is about people, so we have an obligation to dig deeper into the broad-based metrics and connect the data to the experiences of real people. We believe, and have been told by colleagues, that our infographics have helped Colorado to do just that.
In addition to our infographics, other critical data has recently been released that helps us better understand the diverse health care experiences of Coloradans. In September, The Commonwealth Fund released a state low-income population scorecard for Colorado. The scorecard looks at 30 indicators to measure health system performance for low-income, vulnerable populations. Overall, we rank 16th in the nation. In three of the four categories making up this rank—healthy life indicators, potentially avoidable hospitalization, and prevention and treatment—Colorado is doing well, and places among the highest-performing states. However, in the fourth category—access and affordability—we are nearly last, at 47th in the nation.
Access and affordability for low-income and vulnerable populations is measured by a few key indicators: the percentage of uninsured, the percentage of those affected by high health costs (causing Coloradans to forgo care or have high out-of-pocket costs), and the percentage of those without dental care. With the new coverage opportunities provided by Connect for Heath Colorado, our state insurance marketplace, as well as the expansion of Medicaid to this population—we have a chance to make significant movement in this area for the benefit of all low-income, vulnerable Coloradans.
We also have an Office of Health Equity at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and The Colorado Trust, a grant making foundation in Colorado, that just announced a new vision focused on health equity. All of this is great news since, data, even when it is easy to access and beautifully presented, is only information. It is the action that is taken based on the information that really matters.
As key health care reforms go into place over the next year, we have new opportunities to improve the experiences of health and health care for all Coloradans. I’m confident that together, we can score a win for all Coloradans. Join us.