• NQF collaborated with 10 groups in communities across the nation to test the Improving Population Health by Working with Communities—Action Guide 1.0. The testing was the second phase of a project sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to support efforts to improve population health.

    NQF continues our series of Q&As with field testing groups with a conversation with Camille Harding, Quality and Health Improvement Unit Manager for the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing’s (HCPF) Client and Clinical Care Office. The Colorado Cross-Agency Collaborative is a partnership between HCPF—the state’s Medicaid agency—and two other state agencies, the Colorado Department of Human Services and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. The collaborative was formed to align initiatives that impact Coloradans’ health.

    NQF: How would you describe your community?

    CH: Our community is the state of Colorado. About 5.3 million people live in the state, and roughly a quarter are covered by Medicaid.

    NQF: What are the two biggest challenges your community faces?

    CH: We’ve done fairly well aligning metrics across agencies to leverage data on population health initiatives across the state. One example is how we match up birth certificate information and Medicaid claims data to identify new moms to target postpartum initiatives.

    But data gaps still exist. For example, we still lack comprehensive data on adolescents who may need mental health services. Data is collected in different ways within each of the state agencies. Leveraging opportunities to align and reduce duplication allows us to target combined initiatives and select aligned benchmarks to better measure effectiveness of behavioral health outcomes.

    It’s also been challenging to incentivize multiple diverse stakeholders to align priorities, particularly between state and community-level interventions. Alignment between state agencies allows for communities to target interventions that drive outcomes.

    NQF: How has participating in NQF’s Population Health Framework project helped to further the Colorado Cross-Agency Collaborative’s work?

    CH: The self-examination process outlined in the project’s Action Guide 2.0 helped us improve cross-agency coordination and advance our efforts to coordinate leadership for health and wellness activities across the state.

    In addition, Colorado was recently awarded a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services State Innovation Models (SIM) Initiative grant focused on improving population health through physical and behavioral health integration. The onsite expertise offered with the NQF site visit helped us map out our strategy for this work, think through how we measure interventions, and identify where we have gaps.

  • Quality Measurement 101