FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 3, 2022
Dept. of Health Care Policy & Financing
Colorado has a deep commitment to creating a system that ensures people with disabilities always have the option to receive their care in the community.
Over the past decade, the Department, in collaboration with an engaged stakeholder community, has made extraordinary progress in strengthening and enhancing the home and community based services that are available to people with disabilities. This Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation began in 2018, and we just received their letter today, including their findings. We will compare their findings to our current Home and Community Based Services accomplishments and investment plans in the coming days and identify additional pathways to address any gaps against DOJ findings.
Already, more than 81% or four out of every five individuals receive Colorado Medicaid long term services and support in their own home. And this is a number we have worked hard to achieve, increasing from 75.7% in just six short years. We have accomplished this through a number of initiatives. In fact, Colorado was the first state in the nation to implement a permanent Money Follows the Person program, which provides a suite of services aimed at supporting people with disabilities to transition from institutional settings back to the community. Since the implementation of this program in 2019, 687 people have successfully transitioned back to their homes.
In March of 2021, Congress passed the American Rescue Plan Act, which offered states federal funding to strengthen community based services for people with disabilities. Colorado worked hard to leverage this opportunity and was the first state in the nation to receive full approval of our nearly $530 million spending plan to further improve our system. The 65 projects included within our plan are directly targeted at enhancing home and community based services to expand access, improve quality and streamline eligibility to ensure all individuals can receive care in their communities.
Colorado’s steadfast efforts to fulfill the commitment of community living for all people with disabilities is also evident in the national Long Term Services and Supports (LTSS) State Scorecard developed and released by AARP. Colorado has ranked in the top eight in the country for our LTSS system since the scorecard's inception in 2011. Notably, Colorado ranks in the top five for quality of life and quality of care, and 10th for our work to support transitions from institutions to the community.
Despite the Department’s dedicated efforts, in partnership with our deeply engaged stakeholders, to invest and create a strong community based system, there is more work to do. The Department’s commitment to ensuring that people receive care in their homes has and will continue to drive all of the work we do. This commitment is ongoing and one that requires continual re-evaluation to improve our efforts to fulfill this promise. We are committed to working collaboratively and expeditiously with the Department of Justice to build upon our prior and planned work to address the issues identified and ensure members are connected to community support.
About the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing: The Department administers Health First Colorado (Colorado's Medicaid program), Child Health Plan Plus, and other programs for Coloradans who qualify. These health care programs now cover about 1 in 4 Coloradans. For more information about the Department, please visit HCPF.Colorado.gov.