Healthcare in Colorado: Past, Present, and Future

One of the most important components of any location is the public health and healthcare system. Colorado has long been one of the top states in the country for both. While it’s less common to find us in the top 5 rankings for overall health from various media sources, we still consistently rank in the top 10. And more recently, our state’s healthcare system was ranked #2 in the country.

The Early Days of Colorado Healthcare

From its very beginning, the state’s climate has been synonymous with health. While today it’s primarily about the state’s strong outdoors culture, back then the high altitude attracted a good number of travelers with tuberculosis and other respiratory illnesses. It was known as the “climate cure.” Even today, people with asthma sometimes move to Colorado and find benefits to their respiratory health. For what it’s worth, the healthcare system of the day was focused primarily on public health. Recording vital health statistics and deaths to track and identify public diseases.

Today’s Healthcare System in Colorado

The healthcare system has been growing aggressively for more than a decade—trying to keep up the state’s torrid population growth, especially along the Front Range. Even as the healthcare industry in general has moved away from hospital-based care, the state has been trying to strategically add new hospitals as quickly as they efficiently can. But more than raw growth, there has been increasing specialization and diversification of health service delivery systems—often along geographical, demographic, and cultural lines.

  • Urgent Care and Health Clinics in Denver: It was hard to choose just one for the Denver area, but there seems to be a new model for primary care based on convenience and a la carte-based care services for a new generation of health consumers. Some health providers offer urgent care and family medicine hybrid practices.
  • Concierge Medicine in Colorado Springs: Further to the south, Colorado Springs has a strong libertarian streak that lends itself to a more direct relationship with doctors. Concierge medicine and similar healthcare delivery models that are more accommodating to individual patients is popular in this area.
The Future of Colorado’s Healthcare System
  • Telemedicine for College Students: In Fort Collins and Boulder, CSU and CU are experimenting with greater adoption of telemedicine services for college students. This has mostly been used for mental health counseling services, but as telemedicine grows in general, so do the potential opportunities for college students and remote access to doctors.
  • Rural and Ski Town Healthcare Costs: Speaking of remote access, getting healthcare to rural areas is a challenge across the country. However, Colorado has the unique challenge of rural areas combined with a higher cost of living in the form of ski towns. What’s also significant is big companies recognizing that their employees cost-of-living standards are getting gobbled up by healthcare costs. Ski resorts and other significant local-area employers are banding together to negotiate costs directly with health providers.

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