The Colorado Community Health Network (CCHN) represents Colorado’s 20 Community Health Centers (CHCs), the largest primary health care network in the state. CHCs provide a health care home for more than 832,000 Coloradans, one in seven people in the state, including 20% of Medicaid enrollees and 19% of CHP+ enrollees. 20 CHCs operate 243 community, migrant, homeless, and school-based clinic sites across Colorado.
CCHN has a plan called Access for All Colorado, which aims to provide a health care home for more than one million Coloradans and to champion solutions that advance racial equity and pave the way to more just and equitable health for all Coloradans.
In 1982, a small group of visionaries formed a lifelong friendship around a single cause: providing premium health care to all Coloradans regardless of ability to pay.
Their task was enormous. But they had a plan. They would unite and politically mobilize Colorado’s Community Health Centers or CHCs – then a dozen facilities stretched from farm towns to urban neighborhoods. These independent, community-owned, non-profit or public health centers had been providing health care to working families, including people without medical insurance, since the 1970s. The visionaries saw that to meet the needs in their individual communities, a statewide network of like-minded organizations was required. They filled the new network with elite medical talent and adopted a sliding-fee scale so that no person was turned away because of their income. They attracted bi-partisan support from the Colorado statehouse to Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. They lifted the CHC movement in Colorado to the next level by launching an alliance – the Colorado Community Health Network (CCHN).
Today these CHCs are integral parts of their communities. To ensure that services are geared toward the community they serve, each CHC is governed by a board of directors, which include local business owners, community leaders and other interested citizens. A unique feature of CHC boards is that more than half of the members are patients of their CHCs.
Colorado’s CHCs have grown consistently over the past four decades, providing a health care home for working families who struggle to balance increasing health care costs with other financial responsibilities.
Since its inception in 1982, CCHN has made significant strides in ensuring that Colorado’s low-income residents have access to affordable, high quality primary health care. To ensure that all Coloradoans have a health care home, CCHN is committed to 1) educating policy makers and stakeholders about the unique needs of CHCs and their patients, 2) providing resources to ensure that the CHCs are strong organizations, and 3) supporting the CHCs in maintaining the highest quality care.
The staff at CCHN is deeply honored to work on behalf of Colorado’s Community Health Centers. By banding together and putting the needs of Coloradoans above their own territorial issues, the CHCs have served hundreds of thousands of Coloradans who otherwise would not have been able to get the health care they need.