Colorado Rural Health Center’s iCARE Rural Diabetes Collaborative Kicks Off Year Two

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The Colorado Rural Health Center, Colorado’s State Office of Rural Health, began year two of a three year –$1.5 million grant awarded last September from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s (CDPHE) Cancer, Cardiovascular Disease and Pulmonary Disease Grant Program.

With this funding, the Colorado Rural Health Center (CRHC) was able to expand its Improving Communication and Readmission (iCARE) program through the implementation of the iCARE Rural Diabetes Collaborative. In partnership with the Southeastern Colorado Area Health Education Center (SECAHEC), the Collaborative employs a number of direct and indirect delivery strategies tailored to improve diabetes outcomes in rural Colorado. Specifically the program was expanded to include provider-based Rural Health Clinics affiliated with the hospitals that were already participating.    

Jen Dunn, Director of Programs, overseeing the project says the expansion to include Rural Health Clinics is crucial because they are often the only health clinic in the county providing primary care services. “Rural Health Clinics have to be able to provide high quality care with fewer resources which makes it imperative to ensure clinical processes are efficient and effective.”

The CRHC began the iCARE program in 2010 in response to heightened scrutiny nationally and statewide on hospital’s avoidable readmission rates and lack of initiatives addressing this issue from a rural relevant vantage point. Rural health care providers experience unique challenges not shared by their urban counterparts including lack of access to staffing, resources, and funding. iCARE has brought together Critical Access Hospitals from across the state to focus on making improvements in three critical areas: reducing readmission rates, improving communication in transitions of care, and improving clinical processes for conditions contributing to readmissions.

Michelle Mills, Chief Executive Officer at the CRHC, says funding from the CDPHE allowed CRHC to expand the iCARE program in new ways. “This funding allowed us to expand the technical assistance available to clinics – such as process mapping and chronic disease self-management training.”

Fourteen rural communities are currently participating in iCARE representing all parts of the state from the Eastern Plains to the Western Slope, including: Del Norte, Estes Park, Holyoke, Julesburg, Kremmling, Meeker, Salida, Springfield, Walsenburg, Woodland Park, La Jara and Yuma.

In addition, the CRHC lends its expertise and resources from the iCARE program to support Healthy Transitions Colorado – a collaborative effort, focused on aligning and accelerating existing efforts to improve transitions of care for Coloradoans. As one of four operating partners with Healthy Transitions Colorado, the CRHC provides leadership, resources, and subject matter to support efforts that foster true community care coordination across facilities, specialties, and practices. For more information about Healthy Transitions Colorado, visit

About The Colorado Rural Health Center

The Colorado Rural Health Center was established in 1991 as Colorado's State Office of Rural Health. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, CRHC's serves dual roles as the State Office of Rural Health with the mission of assisting rural communities in addressing health care issues; and as the State Rural Health Association, advocating for policy change to ensure that rural Coloradoans have access to comprehensive, affordable health care services of the highest quality. For more information visit, call 303-832-7493, or call toll free 800-851-6782 from rural Colorado.

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