Office of eHealth Innovation Advancing Governor Innovation Response Efforts

Thursday, April 30, 2020

DENVER -- As part of Colorado’s response to COVID-19, Colorado’s Office of eHealth Innovation (OeHI) is expanding access to telehealth resources for Coloradans. The state is developing a coordinated and collaborative approach to health information technology and digital health solutions in partnership with the Innovation Response Team (IRT). OeHI and the eHealth Commission are moving forward critical and strategic infrastructure projects to support Coloradans through the COVID-19 emergency response and beyond. 

“Colorado has moved swiftly to secure funding and launch new innovations so health providers and Coloradans can access and use telemedicine during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Lt. Governor and Office of Saving People Money on Health Care Director Dianne Primavera. “I am seeing health providers and community leaders reach out to those in need in new and different ways. Mental health centers, hospitals, community organizations and clinics across Colorado have gone from in-person care to virtual visits in a matter of days. By using telemedicine to treat individuals and families in their own homes we are not only slowing the spread of COVID-19, but making it easier for Coloradans to get the physical and behavioral health care they need during this challenging time.”

“For years, OeHI has been piloting technology, infrastructure, and payment models to expand the use of telemedicine. In response to this unprecedented situation, our state and local governments, health providers, tech community, and payers have acted quickly and are using telemedicine to provide care for Coloradans to keep them healthy and safe during the pandemic,” said Carrie Paykoc, Director of the Office of eHealth Innovation and Chair of the Innovation Response Team Telemedicine Task Force. 

As part of the Innovations Response Team (IRT) Telemedicine effort, OeHI set up a leadership team to drive telemedicine technology, policy, and communications efforts during COVID-19. The chairs of each IRT Telemedicine Sub-Task Force include Rachel Dixon, CEO of Prime Health and eHealth Commissioner, Kyle Legleiter, Senior Director of Policy at the Colorado Health Foundation, and Cara Bradbury, Project Lead with OeHI. The goal of this effort is to ensure access and use of telemedicine for both patients and health providers.  

Coloradans interested in learning more about telehealth should visit or for more information. The IRT has worked closely with the Governor’s Office and Department of Public Health and Environment to add information about telehealth and what options exist for Coloradans and for health providers

As a result of the Governor’s Telehealth Executive Order and Emergency Regulations from Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF) and the Department of Insurance (DOI)- health providers and communities are providing health care with telemedicine for both physical and behavioral health- in new and innovative ways. Within two days, the Mental Health Center of Denver went from in-person visits to 100% virtual visits for all of their mental health services. Without the recent emergency policy changes to Medicaid reimbursement this would not be possible. Additionally, Aurora Mental Health is providing care to their patients for routine mental health services, crisis, and withdrawal management (detox) using telemedicine phone calls, which is allowed in Colorado for uninsured and Medicaid clients. In addition to mental health needs OeHI, together with the eHealth Commission and the IRT is also focused on supporting individuals in rural communities and those most vulnerable during the pandemic.

To guide this work in the coming days, weeks, and months, Governor Polis and Lt. Governor Primavera are relying on the OeHI and eHealth Commission to oversee, coordinate, and strategize health IT policy, infrastructure and innovation in a way that leverages the lessons learned through the innovation response, as well as existing foundational efforts established through Colorado’s Health IT Roadmap, which focuses on leveraging Colorado’s health information exchanges (Colorado Regional Health Information Organization and Quality Health Network) to provide trusted infrastructure. As part of this work, OeHI and the eHealth Commission have launched a Statewide Data/Information Governance on Health Committee facilitated by the Colorado Health Institute to develop a flexible framework for the use and access of health information. 

For those interested in sharing their telemedicine efforts, the OeHI is asking local communities, community-based organizations and health providers to share their stories. Please complete this form. This information will be used to inform learning collaboratives, policies, infrastructure and funding opportunities.