Colorado Medicaid Creates New Pharmacy Office and Names Leadership

Office to focus on reducing pharmacy costs while leading drug policy


May 16, 2019

Media Contact:
Marc Williams

Denver, CO – The Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (Department) has announced the creation of a new pharmacy office and the appointment of Cathy Traugott as Office Director and Thomas Leahey as Deputy Director.

“Our prescription drug/pharmacy area is a key focus area for the Department,” Executive Director Kim Bimestefer said. “To enhance our ability to meet the prescription needs of our members, to help us battle the rising costs of our prescription benefit, and to lead the emerging legislative and affordability prescription drug policy for the state, we have chosen to make our pharmacy area its own office."

In line with Governor Polis’ Health Care Affordability Roadmap, the Department is focused on effectively managing its $1 billion in prescription drug expenditures (before rebates), while leveraging new cost control strategies to assist employers in battling rising costs.

Under the leadership of Traugott and Leahey, the new pharmacy office will focus on:

  • Preparing an in-depth report that identifies both the drivers of rising pharmacy costs as well as the solutions to address them (coming this summer)
  • Releasing a pharmacy tool that gives prescribers insights into costs, health improvement programs, and patient risk for addiction to better treat the whole person while saving money
  • Value-based contracting to hold pharmaceutical companies more accountable to their clinical promises
  • Seeking approval from the Department of Health and Human Services to import prescription drugs from Canada
  • Supporting the Attorney General’s Office in its quest to investigate manufacturers for behaviors that have resulted in extraordinary price increases to Medicaid, employers and consumers
  • Evaluating expenditures that flow between pharmaceutical companies, insurance carriers and their Pharmacy Benefit Managers to the financial detriment of Coloradans and employers (an estimated $160 billion in payments nationally)
  • Driving pharmacy pricing transparency
  • Help shape cost control strategy, policy and legislation.

Both Traugott and Leahey assume their roles effective immediately.

About the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing: The Department administers Health First Colorado, Child Health Plan Plus and other programs for Coloradans who qualify. For more information about the Department, please visit