Colorado Economic Recovery and Accountability

Healthcare and Human Services



Social Security benefits:
More than 500,000 Colorado residents who are receiving Social Security and SSI benefits also received a one-time payment of $250. This benefit, totaling more than $174 million in Colorado, was distributed throughout May and early June.  For more information, visit

The Department of Health Care Policy and Financing was eligible to receive $247,634,837 of increased Medicaid funds retroactive to October 1, 2008 through June 30, 2009. As of August 1, 2009, Colorado had drawn down 100 percent of these funds.


Colorado experienced a significant increase in Medicaid recipients in the last year increasing by 57,916 clients, 14.4 percent, from June 2008 to June 2009. These extra dollars reduced the burden on the state General Fund and other funds that would have been tapped to cover the increased Medicaid costs. The anticipated federal relief enabled the Department to avoid provider reimbursement cuts in FY 2008-09 and prevented the reduction of services to additional children and low-income adults eligible for Medicaid or the Child Health Plan Plus program. Contact: Joanne C. Lindsay, Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, 303-866-3144;

Disproportionate Share Hospital Assistance:
Colorado hospitals that handle high numbers of Medicaid patients expect to receive $2.3 million in additional Medicaid funds from the federal government through a formula.

Food and Nutrition Assistance:
Colorado agencies and residents are receiving additional food assistance through a variety of programs, including:

  • The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps, increased an estimated 13.6 percent. Starting April 1, 2009, Colorado families began receiving an average monthly increase of $40, amounting to almost $180 million in additional funding to the state. As of Oct. 31, 2009, $46.7 million had been disbursed in additional benefits statewide to more than 160,000 households – consisting of more than 370,000 people. The food stamp caseload continues to grow each month. As of April 2010, 407,731 people were receiving the extra food stamp benefit.
  • The 10 largest counties, which handle more than 80 percent of the statewide caseload of food stamps, have received $2.4 million to hire more workers or pay overtime to existing staff to process the increased number of food assistance requests in a timely manner. The funds were spent on overtime for existing staff and the hiring of 20 full-time and 20 part-time workers to process applications. The funds helped county workers serve 148,725 additional people as of April 2010. Contact: Sue McGinn, Colorado Department of Human Services, Food and Nutrition Division, 303-866-3391,; Pauline Burton, Colorado Department of Human Services;, 303.866.5050
  • Supplementary Nutrition for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) funding will increase by $500 million nationwide for a contingency fund to handle caseload growth and $100 million to support state MIS projects. Colorado submitted an application for $444,066 to the Department of Agriculture on May 29, 2009. Contact: Jillian Jacobellis, Division Director, Prevention Services Division, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, 303-692-2504,
  • Food banks and assistance agencies across Colorado are receiving huge shipments of commodity food items paid for with $1.3 million in formula grants through the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) targeting people below the poverty line. The grants are distributed through food commodities, not dollars, distributed to food pantries. The USDA is using their bid process to purchase food. More than 560,000 cases of food are being distributed to 50 county agencies and food banks and 43 soup kitchens across Colorado. More than 113,000 households with more than 306,000 people are receiving high-quality food including whole chickens, cheese, eggs and sliced turkey. Contact: Phil Loo, Colorado Department of Human Services, 303-866-5097,
  • County agencies also received $715,030 to improve food delivery service to the needy through the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP). The funds paid for the hiring of 2 refrigeration service technicians and more freezers and refrigerators to store food. The equipment and services will benefit 30 counties across the state.

Health Insurance Benefits for the Unemployed:
Colorado residents who involuntarily lost jobs between September 1, 2008 and December 31, 2009 and worked for businesses that offered health insurance are eligible for help with paying for health insurance. To be eligible for the increase in benefit, residents must meet certain income requirements. The benefit is part of the program known as COBRA. The Recovery Act adds a premium subsidy to the existing COBRA program, so the employee pays 35% of the health insurance premium and the employer pays 65% for up to nine months. For the state health insurance continuation program the ratios are the same, but the coverage lasts for six months. Employers are reimbursed by the federal government in the form of credits against their payroll taxes or as refunds. State officials estimate that thousands of people are getting this benefit, although exact figures are not available at this time.
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Aging Nutrition Services:
The state has distributed $1.3 million in additional funds to 16 Area Agencies on Aging across Colorado. The local agencies were given $847,851 for group meals and $417,403 for home delivered meals for seniors age 60 years and older. The funds will provide 138,673 additional meals for 11,113 unduplicated seniors in a group setting and 65,367 meals delivered to homes of 3,445 unduplicated seniors. This is through two grants that both require a 15 % match from the state. The funds have largely been spent as of early 2010. Contact: Susan Hunt, Colorado Department of Human Services;, 303.866.2727; Jeanette Hensley, Director of Aging and Adult Services at DHS, 303-866-2636,

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) programs:

Colorado expects to receive $68 million to boost benefits in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, formerly known as welfare. These funds are expected to be used in conjunction with a homelessness prevention project targeting low-income individuals and families with children. As of April 2010, the program helped 1,667 people with subsidized employment, 1,440 people with housing, 1,400 people with refugee services and 15,000 people with utility payments (LEAP).

Contact: Pauline Burton, Colorado Department of Human Services; 303.866.5050; Kevin Richards, Director of Colorado Works Program at DHS, 303-866-2054,

Child Care Assistance:
County human service agencies are receiving $24.3 million through 2010 for child care services to low-income families. These funds come as discretionary block grants to supplement state funding for to improve access to quality child care. Colorado has spent more than $11.7 million and provided services to more than 4,000 additional families above existing clients served across the state. Funds must be obligated by Sept. 30, 2010. Just over $3 million of that grant must be spent on improving quality of child care. In addition, the Southern Ute Indian Tribe and Ute Mountain Indian Tribe will receive $60,124 and $66,936 respectively. Contact: George Kennedy, Colorado Department of Human Services, 303.866.4479; Rosemarie Allen, Colorado Department of Human Services, 303-866-5943;

Child support enforcement:

A Federal match of 66 percent is available for State administrative costs of carrying out child support enforcement program activities. Colorado has been awarded $6.7 million, of which $5 million has been spent as of April 2010. The funds were used to serve more than 147,000 children across all counties. The funds will be distributed to counties based on their performance. The intent of the funds is to restore financial incentives based on performance of the county agencies and retain jobs and current levels of services. Contact: Pauline Burton, Colorado Department of Human Services, 303.866.5050; John Bernhart, Director of Child Support Enforcement, 303-866-3985,

Adoption Assistance and Foster Care:

Colorado has been awarded $1,860,880 to support foster care programs. As of April 2010, all funds had been spent to serve about 2,100 children across all counties. The state also was awarded $1,658,485 to support adoption programs. As of April 2010, all of the adoption funds had been spent to serve about 6,600 children across the state. Contact: Sharen Ford, Colorado Department of Human Services, Division of Child Welfare, 303-866-3197

Census administration:
The U.S. Department of Commerce is distributing $1 billion to augment the administration of the 2010 Census. The money will be used to hire additional personnel, increase media purchases and improve management and outreach to minority and hard-to-reach populations. The local Census office has been allocated $770,000 for FY 2009-2010 to facilitate the administration of the 2010 Census in the 10-state region. About $350,000 of those funds were used to hire employees based out of the Lakewood office. Contact: Cathy Illian, U.S. Census Bureau, 303-264-0202,; Elizabeth Garner, State Demographer, Department of Local Affairs, 303-866-2818.

Community Services Block Grants:
Approximately $8.7 million was allocated to Colorado for community service block grants. The funds can be used to help Colorado citizens become more self-sufficient by providing services related to employment, education, nutrition, housing, health, emergency services such as rental and mortgage assistance, financial education (income maintenance). Eligible citizens for services include individuals and families at 200 percent of poverty. Local agencies submitted applications in the spring of 2009. The Colorado Department of Local Affairs and an advisory group allocated funds to 40 counties and organizations serving rural counties. The funds will pay for services in the areas of housing, employment, healthcare, nutrition and income management. County governments can partner with non-profits to provide the services. All funds must be spent by Sept. 30, 2010. Contact: Lucia Smead, 303-866-3128,, Department of Local Affairs

 Health Information Technology (HITECH):

The Recovery Act designates a variety of competitive grants for the development of electronic medical records and other forms of healthcare-related information technology. Funds are split into two programs:

  • State Cooperative Agreements to Promote Health Information Technology: $564 million in Planning and Implementation Projects are to advance appropriate and secure health information exchange (HIE) across the health care system. The purpose of this program is to continuously improve and expand HIE services over time to reach all health care providers.
  • Health Information Technology Extension Program: $598 million will fund a national Health Information Technology Research Center and Regional Extension Centers. The Regional Centers will provide assistance through education, outreach, and technical assistance, to help providers in their geographic service areas use EHR technology to improve the quality and value of health care. Regional Centers will help providers achieve exchange of health information. Awards are scheduled to be announced in December 2009.

Governor Ritter has designated the Colorado Regional Health Information Organization (CORHIO) as the state-level entity to receive health information technology (HIT) funds. Colorado plans to use HITECH funds to establish a loan and grant program for providers who are interested in purchasing electronic health records, to reimburse Medicaid providers who utilize electronic health records to improve clinical outcomes, and train health care professionals. It also hopes to become a HIT Regional Extension Center.

CORHIO ( is a nonprofit organization that works to facilitate the electronic health information exchange to improve the health of all Coloradans.


In February 2010, CORHO won two grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The organization won a $9.1 million grant to build out a statewide health information exchange. In May 2010, CORHIO chose Salt Lake City-based Medicity to build the technology platform for that project. CORHIO also won a $12.75 million grant to establish electronic health records through a Regional Extension Center. This will be done with CO-REC, a consortium of health care organizations that will use electronic health records and information exchange among at least 2,200 primary care providers working in small practices and safety net providers.

In May 2010, the Colorado Beacon Consortium won a $11.8 million grant to implement a health information technology pilot project in western Colorado.


Contact: Phyllis Albritton, Executive Director, Colorado Regional Health Information Organization, 720-858-6062.

Community Health Centers:
The Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services will distribute $2.5 billion nationally in competitive grants through three programs designed to support services at federally qualified community health centers.

  • Capital Improvement Program:  Colorado's 15 federally qualified community health centers have received a combined $16.9 million for construction, renovation, and equipment (including health information technology systems). In addition, the Colorado Coalition of the Homeless has received $1.9 million to support electronic health records implementation and the Colorado Community Managed Care Network (CCMCN) received $441,250 to devise plans to use existing EHRs to improve patient health outcomes.
  • Increased Demand for Services:  Colorado's 15 federally qualified community health centers have received $7.5 million, creating or retaining an estimated 154 jobs and reaching 39,689 new patients and 21,619 uninsured patients. In addition, one health center in Colorado Springs was awarded $1.3 million, which is estimated to create 40 jobs and reach 5,240 patients.
  • Facility Investment Program:  $515 million in one-time competitive grants will support health center efforts to expand their capacity to provide primary and preventive health services to medically underserved populations nationwide as well as create employment opportunities in underserved communities over the next 2 years.

Health Professions:
The Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services will distribute $500 million nationally to bolster and expand the health professions workforce.

  • Colorado will receive $837,257 to train health professionals $200 million in grants to target health professions training programs to strengthen the workforce in key areas. Pueblo Community College, Colorado State University, and University of Colorado-Denver have received a combined $45,766 for Nursing Workforce Diversity programs.
  • The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is receiving $800,000 for fiscal year 2009 loan repayment programs and $35,840 to help recruit new National Health Service Corps (NHSC) clinicians. In addition, the Denver Health Medical Center, Eagle County Government, and Tri County Health Department in Greenwood Village are receiving funds for the Nurse Education Loan Repayment program. Contact: Jillian Jacobellis, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, 303-692-2504,

Communities Putting Prevention to Work:
The Recovery Act dedicates $650 million nationwide to state and local levels to increase levels of physical activity, improve nutrition, decrease obesity rates, and decrease smoking prevalence, teen smoking initiation, and exposure to second hand smoke. It is unknown how much Colorado will receive. The program has four initiatives:

  • Community Initiative: Nearly $450 million will pay for intensive community approaches to chronic disease prevention and control in selected communities (urban, rural, and tribal). This money will include grants to communities ($373 million), as well as providing community support and evaluation support ($76 million). In February 2010, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment received three grants totaling $2.7 million for tobacco cessation, improving school nutrition and to increase physical activity. .
  • States and Territories Policy and Environmental Change Initiative:  $120 million in cooperative agreements will support States and Territories to promote wellness and prevent chronic disease through state-wide policy and environmental change for chronic disease prevention and to increase tobacco cessation through expanded quit lines and tobacco cessation media.
  • States Chronic Disease Self-Management Initiative:  $32.5 million will support state chronic disease self-management programs. The Administration on Aging and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will build on an existing partnership to leverage the public health and aging networks to deploy prevention programs targeted at the elderly.
  • National Prevention and Media Initiative: $40 million will establish a National Prevention Media Initiative and a National Organizations Initiative to foster prevention and wellness messages and advertisements, amplified and extended through national organizations.

Contact: Jillian Jacobellis, Division Director, Prevention Services Division, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, 303-692-2504,

Compassion Capital Fund:
$50 million will be distributed in competitive grants by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to help faith-based and community organizations increase their effectiveness, enhance their level of services to people most in need and create partnerships with other organizations.

Colorado is receiving $3.3 million to administer vaccines.
Contact: Lisa Miller, Disease Control and Environmental Epidemiology Division, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, 303-692-2663;

Health Information Technology Fund – Immunizations:
This part of the Recovery Act could bring as much as $1 million to Colorado for an electronic tracking system for immunizations that can be used nationwide. The funds, if awarded, would be used to expand the state’s IT system for immunizations. Contact: Lisa Miller, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, 303-692-2663;

Healthcare Associated Infections:
$50 million was authorized to support states in the prevention and reduction of healthcare associated infections (HAI). The funds will pay for efforts that support surveillance and research, improve quality for patients, encourage collaboration, train the workforce in HAI prevention, and measure outcomes. Colorado’s request for $1.17 million is pending. Contact: Lisa Miller, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, 303-692-2663;

Comparative Effectiveness Health Research grants:
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will distribute $1.1 billion in competitive grants to research institutions for work on developing two or more medical treatments for a particular medical condition. Some of these funds will be distributed by the National Institutes of Health and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Local groups are awaiting federal guidelines on these grants.

National Cemetery Administration:

The federal government is distributing $50 million in discretionary funds nationwide to support cemeteries that are state-owned and operated solely for eligible veterans and their dependents and/or spouses.

Strengthening Communities Fund:
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded $46 million in grants directly to community and faith-based organizations to increase their ability to handle the broad economic Recovery issues in their communities, including job training and retention and access to state and Federal benefits. All grants are one-time, two year awards.

  • Under the State, Local, and Tribal Government Capacity Building Program, Adams County and the Colorado Nonprofit Association each received $250,000.
  • Under the Nonprofit Capacity Building Program, Telluride Foundation in Telluride received $999,684 and First Nations Development Institute in Longmont received $800,000. The Nonprofit program requires that each nonprofit sponsor one young person who will learn how to manage and grow these organizations to create the next generation of nonprofit leadership.