Jun 21, 2019

Health Care Vitals: Denver

Lt. Gov. Dianne Primavera in conversation at Axios' Health Care Vitals event. Photo: Danielle Lirette for Axios

This Tuesday, Axios' Sam Baker hosted an Expert Voices Live discussion in Denver, digging into the state of access and affordability in Colorado.

Why it matters: 25 state and local leaders — elected officials, experts in health care, health tech innovators, and advocates — discussed solutions to challenges in health care policy and providing equitable care.

Creating policy that serves all communities

A consistent theme throughout the morning's conversation was the importance of creating policy that could serve all communities and constituents, from individuals to businesses, rural to urban areas.

Lt. Gov. Dianne Primavera, State of Colorado

  • On the 360 degree view of health: "All roads lead to health...if you look at all the cabinets from Agriculture all the way up to State Veterans and Military Affairs. Every Cabinet plays some role in health... If people don't have access to food you know they're not going to be healthy...If you look at education, the further people go in school, the healthier they're going to be. If you look at the environment, [when people] don't have to live in toxic situations they're going to be healthy."
  • On creating affordability while maintaining quality: "We want to make sure that we keep in mind that health care is a three-legged stool right now. Affordability is one of the big barriers, but we can't also ignore quality. Prevention and wellness is a big part of it too."
  • On the importance of transparency in creating effective policy: "If we can pull the curtain back and try and figure out what's driving health care costs, then we can address those issues."
Axios Health Care Editor Sam Baker moderating Tuesday's discussion. Photo: Danielle Lirette for Axios
Opportunities for growth

How the government and private sector could make health care more accessible for patients with varied needs featured prominently in the conversation.

Julie Reiskin, Executive Director at the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition

  • On the relationship between lack of medical care and poverty: "Disrupting that is really an opportunity… It’s really hard to break those cycles."
  • On improved care for people with disabilities: "Prevention for us looks different, so it’s not necessarily that a ten dollar flu shot prevents a ten thousand dollar ER visit… But we see a lot of room for improvement in the dental space. [We need to find dental care providers] who can work on people in their chairs."

Kelly Brough, President and CEO of the Denver Chamber of Commerce

  • On the challenges of cost: “It doesn't actually get any better in any state than what you have right here [in Colorado]. And yet the cost of health care is unbelievable. And half of our residents get their health care from their employers. And what our employers tell us, regardless of size is ‘I can't afford it and my employees can't afford it.’”
Julie Reiskin, Executive Director at the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition. Photo: Danielle Lirette for Axios

Melissa Bosworth, Principal at Vertical Strategies and Rural Healthcare and Non-profit Capacity Building at Culture of Health Leaders

  • On disparities in outside of major metropolitan areas: "There’s a lot more opportunity to do place-based policy...Accessibility and what that looks like is vastly different in rural communities. "

Michele Lueck, President and CEO at the Colorado Health Institute

  • On where the state is headed: "I think the focus right now on cost efficiencies and affordability through everything from end of life care to telehealth services...those are things that tell the community where we’re headed in the state."
Julia Hutchins, CSO of Apostrophe Health. Photo: Danielle Lirette for Axios
On innovation in the sector

How to continue pushing the private sector forward in partnership with advancing policy was discussed.

Mike Biselli, President of Catalyst HTI

  • How telehealth takes advantage of the tools people already have: "Eighty-seven percent of our Medicaid population across this nation has a smartphone in their pocket...the same number of with our V.A. population as well. And then you think about what is the most widely used application on your phone? Text message. That's why CirrusMD and the team are growing so fast because they unlock the power of that very simple tool on our smartphones."
  • "With technology, the innovation is the easy part. That stuff is ready to scale. It's built. Ready to go. It is policy getting in the way of these leaders to allow for us to drive innovations."

Thank you Delta Dental for sponsoring this event.

Go deeper

World coronavirus updates: Spain's health care system overloaded

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

Two planes carrying protective equipment arrived to restock Spain’s overloaded public health system on Wednesday as confirmed cases surpassed 100,000 and the nation saw its biggest death toll so far, Reuters reports.

The big picture: COVID-19 cases surged past 930,000 and the global death toll exceeded 46,000 on Wednesday night, per Johns Hopkins data. Italy has reported more than 13,000 deaths.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 8 mins ago - Health

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 932,605 — Total deaths: 46,809 — Total recoveries: 193,177Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 213,372 — Total deaths: 4,757 — Total recoveries: 8,474Map.
  3. Business updates: Small businesses are bearing the brunt of the coronavirus job crisis.
  4. World update: Spain’s confirmed cases surpassed 100,000, and the nation saw its biggest daily death toll so far. More than 500 people were reported dead within the last 24 hours in the U.K., per Johns Hopkins.
  5. State updates: Florida and Pennsylvania are the latest states to issue stay-at-home orders — Michigan has more than 9,000 confirmed cases, an increase of 1,200 and 78 new deaths in 24 hours.
  6. Stock market updates: Stocks closed more than 4% lower on Wednesday, continuing a volatile stretch for the stock market amid the coronavirus outbreak.
  7. 1 future thing: Shifts to telemedicine, at-home diagnostics, and drone delivery are all likely lasting consequences from this pandemic.
  8. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

U.S. coronavirus updates: Confirmed cases surpass 200,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Positive cases of the novel coronavirus passed 213,000 on Wednesday — nearly twice as many as Italy, per Johns Hopkins — as more state governors issued stay-at-home orders for Americans to curb infection.

The state of play: Trump administration officials are anonymously sounding the alarm that America's emergency stockpile of personal protective equipment is running dangerously low, the Washington Post reports.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 16 mins ago - Health