CDHS celebrates five years of data-driven government

DENVER (June 26, 2017) — The Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) is celebrating five years of improved services to Coloradans through C-Stat, a performance management approach that allows CDHS to better focus on and improve performance outcomes that enhance people’s lives.  

Through C-Stat, CDHS reviews roughly 100 measures each month. Two-thirds of the measures have shown improvement or maintenance above the goal in C-Stat’s five years of existence. 

“Very few human services departments have a system as sophisticated, integrated and targeted as ours,” said Reggie Bicha, executive director of CDHS. “This innovative approach informs the department’s budget, legislative and staffing decisions and directs us to provide improved services and well-being for Coloradans. We can see in real time when something goes wrong -- and we’re committed to fixing it.” 

Bicha started C-Stat at CDHS after he was appointed executive director by Gov. John Hickenlooper in 2011. Each of CDHS’ divisions collects data that is examined at monthly C-Stat meetings. The executive leadership team, led by Bicha, asks questions to determine strategies for improvement and to help reduce barriers. 

Examples of statewide improvement include:

  • The Division of Child Welfare’s timeliness of assessment closure has improved by 40 percent, from 53.8 percent of assessments conducted within 60 days in January 2011 to consistently more than 90 percent, which was the goal, in 2016. The 90 percent goal was first achieved in August 2014, but performance continued to be variable (80 to 90 percent) until March 2016. Timely completion of assessments indicates the child welfare system is not unnecessarily lingering in a family’s life and that information regarding the assessment in the child welfare data system is up to date.
  • The Colorado Mental Health Institute at Fort Logan's rate of seclusion use has declined from a rate of 3.79 per 1,000 patient hours in February 2013 to a rate of 0.00 in April 2017. The established C-Stat goal for this measure has been lowered twice as a result of improved performance. The use of seclusion creates significant risks for all individuals involved. The risks include serious injury or death, re-traumatization of people who have a history of trauma and loss of dignity, along with other psychological harm. Secluding a patient is the last option used to prevent harm and is therefore viewed by the mental health institutes as a treatment failure when used.
  • From the Division of Early Care and Learning, the number of Colorado Child Care Assistance Program children younger than 5 in top-quality child care facilities has improved by 124.2 percent, from 20.7 percent in December 2014 to 46.4 percent in February 2017. The Division was able to exceed the 39 percent goal in December 2015 and has continued to meet this goal for 14 consecutive months. Research indicates that children who receive child care in top-quality child care facilities (Colorado Shines levels 3-5) are more likely to be ready for kindergarten. 

CDHS also frequently recognizes specific counties for being outstanding C-Stat performers, including recently recognizing 16 counties for “2016 C-Stat Distinguished Performance."

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