Governor Signs Support for Transition from Institutional Settings Bill

Pilot program reduced costs and led to better health outcomes


April 30, 2018

Media Contact:
Marc Williams

HB 18-1326 SigningDenver, CO – Today Governor John Hickenlooper signed House Bill 18-1326, which will help eligible Health First Colorado (Colorado’s Medicaid program) members living in institutionalized settings to move into community-based settings with local services and supports. Since implementing a similar federal pilot program in 2013, Health First Colorado members who transitioned into the community reported having a higher quality of life, better health outcomes and have reduced costs to the state.

In April 2013, the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (the Department) participated in a federally-funded demonstration program to help transition Heath First Colorado members out of long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes, into home and community-based settings through Colorado Choice Transitions. As of December 2017, 328 Health First Colorado members transitioned into the community at a savings of more than $2.8 million to the state of Colorado. Ninety-three percent of members who transitioned were still successfully living in the community one year after their transition.

“Colorado Choice Transitions has been very positive for our members who have made a transition,” said Gretchen Hammer, Medicaid director for Colorado. “By taking from the lessons learned during the demonstration program, this bill allows us to continue offering the most effective transition services that members, families and providers have told us they need.”

Transition services include targeted case management, home delivered meals, peer mentorship and independent living skills.

“With these services, Health First Colorado members are better able to live where they choose” said Kim Bimestefer, executive director for the Department. “This bill will not only help improve the day-to-day lives of members, but also maintains Colorado’s compliance with federal law and does so at a savings to taxpayers.”

Federal law requires states to provide services in the least restrictive setting possible. The Department forecasts savings of more than $171,000 from the General Fund in FY 2018-19, and more than $1.0 million in General Fund savings in FY 2019-20. The bill takes effect July 1, 2018.

About the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing: The Department administers Health First Colorado (Colorado's Medicaid Program) and Child Health Plan Plus as well as a variety of other programs for Coloradans who qualify. For more information about the Department, please visit