Colorado Rural Health Center Releases 2019 Snapshot of Rural Health

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Colorado Rural Health Center Snapshot of Rural Health Explores Demographics, Population Health, Education, Economy, Opioid Use, and More in Rural Colorado

"[The Snapshot] truly is essential reading for anyone looking to gain a sense of the whole picture of how rural healthcare operates in the state and just how import these facilities and employees are in their communities.”

The Colorado Rural Health Center (CRHC) has released the 2019 edition of its Snapshot of Rural Health. The annual publication highlights rural health data such as demographic trends, population health, education levels, opioid use, and the economy through the use of infographic data visualization, text, and maps. This year’s edition features expanded information on the impact that rural healthcare providers and facilities have on their communities as a whole.

Colorado Rural Health Center CEO Michelle Mills is excited about the updated and expanded snapshot. “The Snapshot of Rural Health is now in its 11th year providing a foundation for the Colorado Rural Health Center’s advocacy efforts on the state and federal levels,” explains Mills. “It truly is essential reading for anyone looking to gain a sense of the whole picture of how rural healthcare operates in the state and just how import these facilities and employees are in their communities.”

The Snapshot of Rural Health also includes data collected and analyzed by CRHC’s internal Health Information Technology (HIT) Data Analyst and the organization’s full-time Policy Analyst. A comprehensive citations page makes sourcing each fact from the 28 page report easy and convenient.

Along with the release of the full annual Snapshot Report, CRHC also released five regional Snapshots that detail the progress of different regions of the state, allowing for apples-to-apples comparisons. Regions covered in the separate reports include the Northwest, Southwest, Mountain West, San Luis Valley, and Eastern Plains.

The annual Snapshot of Rural Health also features the solutions that have been successful with CRHC’s Improving Communications and Readmissions (iCARE) program. The three primary goals of iCARE are to work with hospitals and clinics to improve communications in transitions of care, improve the clinical process and systems to reduce readmissions, particularly for heart failure, pneumonia, and diabetic patients, and to maintain low readmission rates. The data highlights preventable hospital stays for counties in which iCARE hospitals reside and indicates that for this area the average rate was 46 per 1,000 Medicare enrollees, compared to the state’s average rate of 32. The data also highlights that the measure for Hemoglobin HbA1c, Poor Control (>9.0%) displays that participating iCARE clinics report that of patients 18-75 years of age with diabetes, only 25.7% either had HbA1c poor control, a missing a result, or an HbA1c test was not done during the measurement year when compared to the state average of 55%.

Michelle Mills, alongside other CRHC staff, attended the National Rural Health Association’s Rural Health Policy Institute on February 4-7 in Washington DC. The event affords Colorado-based staff an opportunity to meet with policymakers and stakeholders to discuss legislative priorities. The Snapshot of Rural Health is a vital component of these discussions.

Examples of featured data include:

  • 73% of Colorado’s landmass is either rural or frontier
  • People of color comprise 26% of the population in rural communities and 31% in urban areas
  • It is estimated that approximately 75% of population health is driven by social determinants of health, physical environment, and medical care/access to care, while genes, biology and health behaviors account for only 25%
  • Rural Colorado has higher rates of public insurance (a 32% difference) when compared to urban Colorado
  • Roughly 1 in 4 rural households in the state do not have access to broadband today (25 megabits per second download and 3 mbps per second upload speeds)
  • 7 of 10 deaths in Colorado can be attributed to chronic diseases: heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes.
  • 22 rural Colorado counties do not have a licensed psychologist. 11 counties in Colorado have no inpatient mental health beds.
  • Opioids kill one person in Colorado about every 9.5 hours
  • Colorado has over 314,900 health and wellness workers across the state and a $16.5 billion annual payroll. The industry has a compelling impact with salaries and benefits in rural Colorado totaling to $904,409,165

As Colorado’s State Office of Rural Health and member-based association for rural health facilities, CRHC is a clearinghouse for rural health information and resources, helping providers throughout Colorado enhance healthcare services available in rural communities, and helping elected officials make informed decisions about healthcare policy.

The Snapshot of Rural Health is available for download at https://coruralhealth.org/snapshot-of-rural-health - For additional resources, visit the CRHC resource center at http://coruralhealth.org/resources.

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 serves dual roles as the State Office of Rural Health and the State Rural Health Association. The organization’s mission is to enhance healthcare services in the state by providing information, education, linkages, tools, and energy toward addressing rural health issues. CRHC’s vision is to improve healthcare services available in rural communities to ensure that all rural Coloradans have access to comprehensive, affordable, high quality healthcare. For more information visit http://www.coruralhealth.org, call 303-832-7493, or call toll free 800-851-6782 from rural Colorado.

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