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Colorado Access Awards $1.83 Million for Health Innovation

AURORA, Colo.  – Colorado Access, a nonprofit community-based health plan striving to improve the health and lives of the underserved, today awarded $1.83 million to 19 organizations across Colorado to support the transformation of a coordinated, accountable system of care that improves health delivery and reduces inequities exacerbated by COVID-19.

The Community Innovation Pool awards are part of a new program offered by Colorado Access that funds development and implementation of new models of care that are focused on two major goals:

Focus Area #1:  Health inequities and social needs exacerbated by COVID-19

Funding Goals:

  • To support innovative initiatives, programs and/or services that aim to address and lessen health inequities and health disparities which are being exacerbated by COVID-19.
  • To identify innovative ideas addressing social determinants of health emphasizing diversity and inclusivity.

Focus Area #2:  Telehealth 

Funding Goals:

  • To support innovative access to telehealth for community member’s physical, social and emotional health and well-being.
  • To expand health care provider capacity and capabilities to innovatively serve community members through telehealth.
  • To enhance community member participation in telehealth delivery through direct feedback.

The effort supports community collaboration, not just regionally, but across the state, said Marshall Thomas, MD, president and CEO at Colorado Access. “The people we serve are often overlooked in a typical medical setting, let alone a pandemic. We need to ensure we are networking our existing community resources around patients and communities in new ways to address the cognitive, social, behavioral and economic needs of each member of the community.”

This funding will support advances underway throughout Colorado, allowing for more rapid care delivery transformation. Colorado Access supports more than 500,000 members who receive health care as part of Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) and Health First Colorado (Colorado’s Medicaid Program). It is the state’s largest administrator of the two programs.

“Health—physical, emotional and behavioral—is a community resource that requires community-wide support. We take our commitment to our community very seriously,” Thomas said. “The Community Innovation Pool grants will contribute to the creation of a statewide framework of community programs and supports that promote better integration and use of existing community resources.” 

More about the Community Innovation Pool and Colorado Access


Programs were deemed “innovative” because the organization could demonstrate they provided a new alternative to problem solving; showed incremental improvements year over year, or created an entirely new program; and program leaders were taking a calculated risk while showing a system for creating learning opportunities. Focus areas were defined as (1) health inequities and social need exacerbated by COVID-19 and (2) telehealth programs. Forty-eight percent of the funding was awarded to programs focused on health inequities, while 23 percent of the funding went to telehealth programs. The remaining 29 percent of funding went to projects that worked to solve health inequities while also addressing telehealth. Awards were determined by deliberation through a review committee comprised of select members, providers and some Colorado Access employees.

About Colorado Access

Founded in 1994, Colorado Access is a local, nonprofit health plan that serves members throughout Colorado. The company’s members receive health care as part of Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) and Health First Colorado (Colorado’s Medicaid Program). The company also provides care coordination services and administers behavioral health and physical health benefits for two regions as part of the Accountable Care Collaborative Program through Health First Colorado. To learn more about Colorado Access, visit