Health First Colorado Announces Telemedicine Changes

Improves Access to Care During COVID-19

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 20, 2020

Media Contact
Marc Williams
marc.williams@state.co.us
303-866-3144

Denver, CO – Today, the Medical Services Board authorized an emergency rule request from the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing (Department) to temporarily expand its telemedicine policy for Health First Colorado (Colorado’s Medicaid program) and Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) members. Many providers already had the ability to serve members via video-enabled telemedicine; now, those providers, which include behavioral health and physical health, can also use telephone and live chat.  

Along with those current providers, the new guidance expands telemedicine options for Federally Qualified Health Centers, Rural Health Clinics, Community Mental Health Centers and Indian Health Services to bill for telemedicine visits. The new guidance adds specified Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Home Health services to the list of eligible interactive audiovisual telemedicine services. In addition to the telemedicine changes, the Department has been working closely with its federal partners on program flexibility for Health First Colorado and CHP+ to reduce administrative burdens for providers and improve access to care for members during this time. The negotiations with federal partners are ongoing.     

“Expanding telemedicine to Health First Colorado and Child Health Plan Plus members addresses a number of critical issues that benefit the health of our members and our providers,” said HCPF Executive Director Kim Bimestefer. “It improves access to care, protects our providers who are on the front line caring for Coloradans and reduces the demand for provider personal protective equipment which is in short supply. Telemedicine will prove to be one of the most effective means of improving access to care while mitigating coronavirus spread.” 

Health First Colorado serves more than 1.2 million Coloradans, including some of the state’s most vulnerable Coloradans.     

“Policies that support social distancing will help protect our most vulnerable members and health care providers who passionately care for them,” said HCPF Office of Community Living Director Bonnie Silva. “We will continue to work hand in hand with the Governor’s Office, the Department of Public Health & Environment and our valued partners to protect our members and ensure access to care.” 

The new telemedicine policy and other guidance is available on the Department’s website at Colorado.gov/hcpf/covid-19-provider-information.


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

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