Pockets of Excellence in Colorado Health Care

Listen Now
1min 15sec

Boulder and Grand Junction are among the best cities in the nation at keeping people healthy and out of hospitals. That’s according to a new report that rates healthcare in 300 local areas across the country.

Here's a transcript of a report from CPR Health Reporter Eric Whitney:

Reporter Eric Whitney: Depending on where Americans live, there are huge differences in the quality of health care, how much it costs, and peoples’ ability to get it. For one thing, the report from the non-profit Commonwealth Fund found people in Boulder and Grand Junction are three times less likely to die early of a preventable cause than people in Mississippi. Commonwealth Fund analyst David Radley says Grand Junction is also very good at keeping people out of hospitals.

David Radley: People being re-admitted to the hospital shortly after they’re discharged is extremely low in Grand Junction. Emergency room visits are lower in Grand Junction than they are in many other parts of the country.

Colorado as a whole falls in the middle when it comes to providing good, affordable health care. Lorez Meinhold, health policy advisor to Governor John Hickenlooper, says the state is trying to duplicate the things Grand Junction is doing right.

Lorez Meinhold: They really created a network of providers that talks to one another. They’ve been able to create an electronic information system, where they are able to look at the right information at the right time to ensure the patient gets the right care, we’re not duplicating tests.

The Commonwealth Fund report says Colorado ranks poorly in the number of uninsured people, with more than 800,000. That helps explain why relatively few people here get preventive care that can reduce the need for more expensive treatments later.