For Debbie Chandler, CEO of Colorado Springs Health Partners, the Regional Business Alliance’s annual trip to Washington, D.C., is  a chance to meet the groups that are shaping tomorrow’s health care policy.

Chandler spent the day at two health care policy think tanks, learning about the latest innovative, cutting-edge ways to deliver health care in a more collaborative environment.

It was a chance to make connections that will pay off in the future, she says.

“These groups always have pilot projects and when they learned about how collaborative the health care community is in Colorado Springs  — how we’re all working together, they said they’d think of us first when they got the chance to test their latest ideas.”

Chandler and a group of other Colorado Springs leaders spent time at Mathetica and Urban Institute, learning about ways they are implementing the Affordable Care Act through primary care initiatives. The local group was surprised to learn that CSHP is already working on some of those techniques.

- Advertisement -

“It was great that so many people got the chance to learn about what we’re doing in the Springs,” she said. “It’s going to lead to even more collaboration.”

Councilors Merv Bennett,Jill Gaebler and Bill Murray were on the same track, and now there are plans to get City Council involved in some of the health care initiatives,she said.

“The Community Health Partners (a nonprofit group  made up of major Colorado Springs health providers) has been around for decades, and they learned about what the group is doing,” she said. “So now we’re going to engage more with City Council, and get a Council position on the board.”

Having that interaction could help the city as it tackles some major public health issues like homelessness, she said.

“Health care is a big part of homelessness, and now we have a place to start to address homelessness  — and a different perspective,” Chandler said.

On Wednesday, the group will spend the day on Capitol Hill, meeting with the state’s Congressional delegation.

Editor’s Note: This is the second of a series of stories from the Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance and its annual trip to Washington, D.C.