Lorez Meinhold is Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter’s chief health care policy advisor. She was recently appointed the director of health reform implementation for the state. Previously, Meinhold was a senior program officer for the Colorado Health Foundation.
Colorado is better-poised than most other states to handle federal health care reform, but we still have quite a lot a work ahead of us.
Recently, Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter issued an executive order to begin implementing reform in Colorado and create the Interagency Health Reform Implementing Board. Consisting of the leaders of all state agencies impacted by the new federal health care reform law, this board will provide advice, guidance and specific recommendations for implementing national health reform here in Colorado.
Throughout the process, we will rely upon significant input and involvement from all stakeholders across the board – providers, payers, consumers, business and many others.
Last year’s Colorado Healthcare Affordability Act, investments in health information technology, the work of Center for Improving Value in Health Care, investments in care coordination, as well as efforts to encourage children to exercise and improve their diets have provided the state with the opportunity to deliver better value for each health care dollar, create a culture of health and expand access to health care that is affordable.
Combined with national reform, the statewide efforts will ensure that 500,000 more Coloradans will get the coverage they need. Additionally, more small businesses and families will have access to affordable health care under the new law. And there will be more primary care providers in underserved and rural areas of the state.
These are only a few of the health care reform act’s positive effects on Colorado. Each marker of progress will require significant planning and dedicated effort. We want to get this done right the first time. But in order to accomplish this, we will need help from the aforementioned stakeholders.
We have created a new health reform website, a dedicated portal for information and communication about the federal health care reform legislation and its implementation in Colorado.
I believe national health care reform builds on Colorado’s successes.
Ultimately, the new health reform law combined with the state’s own efforts will pay off in both the fiscal and personal health of the state. As Colorado’s director of health reform implementation, I look forward to working with all of you to help deliver access to health care for all Coloradans.