Aurora Health Access (AHA) is a collaboration of engaged residents, health care providers, and community agencies. AHA is committed to creating a health care system in Aurora that meets the needs of all residents in the community.
AHA has convened around an urgent problem in Aurora: Too many residents have limited access to health coverage and limited places to seek care when they do find coverage. In short, Aurora currently lacks a health care system that meets the needs of all its residents.
Aurora is home to more than 300,000 people. It is the third largest city in Colorado and spans the Eastern border of the Denver Metro Area. The City boundaries span multiple counties, including Adams County and Arapahoe County. For over twenty years, engaged citizens, health care providers and local agencies have worked hard to build a quality health care system in Aurora. Despite these efforts, the current health care system in Aurora is not meeting the needs of many individuals and families that live in the city at a great human and economic cost.
Aurora is home to one federally qualified health care system dedicated to providing primary care to the medically underserved. In 2008, Metro Community Provider Network provided medical care to more than 16,000 patients in Aurora. As an outpatient, primary care delivery system, MCPN is not designed to meet community urgent or specialty care needs. The recent economic downturn, impacting both employment rates and family budgets as well as the City and State budget, has further stressed the safety net system in Aurora and highlighted the need for a concentrated community effort to transform the health care system so it can adequately meet the needs of all residents.
AHA grew out of the community organizing work of Metro Organizations for People (MOP) with St. Therese Catholic Church in Original Aurora. After three years of research and a variety of actions promoting access to health care, on November 10, 2009, St. Therese leaders convened over 150 community and health care leaders and residents in a public meeting on health care access in Aurora. From this group the Aurora Health Access Taskforce was born; a group of residents, leaders, providers and community agencies committed to transforming the health care system in Aurora. The Colorado Coalition for the Medically Underserved (CCMU) was invited to facilitate the newly formed taskforce, and a dynamic collaborative effort was born.
The Taskforce has over 30 participants, representing health care facilities like the University of Colorado Hospital, The Children’s Hospital, Medical Center of Aurora; payers and HMOs like Kaiser Permanente and Colorado Access; doctors; both Adams and Arapahoe Human Services; Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Finance (HCPF); Aurora and Cherry Creek Schools; Tri-County Health Department; community clinics like MCPN, Doctors Care, Aurora Mental Health Center, and Rocky Mountain Youth Clinics; Rural Metro Ambulance; Aurora Adams Medical Society; YMCA; Stapleton Foundation; city council (Molly Markert and Bob Fitzgerald); and several other non-profits and individuals with an interest in health care. CCMU continues in the role of facilitator, and MOP and St. Therese provide the community connection and organizing experience that have propelled this work forward.
Aurora Health Access Guiding Principles
- The health care system in Aurora can meet the needs of all residents.
- It will take all of us working together to succeed.
- The diversity of Aurora is a strength and all with aligned interests are welcome.
- High numbers uninsured/underinsured
- Inadequate primary care capacity
- Limited integration, care coordination and access to specialty care
- Inequitable distribution of health care resources
- Lack of cohesion and ownership in the community of the health care system
- The need for a stronger, widespread and public commitment to community health
- Structural and cultural barriers to health and healthy living
- Cultural and language diversity of residents of Aurora
- Unpredictable impacts of health care policy
There are currently four active workgroups of Aurora Health Access:
I. Create a Culture of Health and Wellness » Learn more
II. Increase Access to Health Insurance » Learn more
III. Improve Coordination of Access and Care » Learn more
IV. Support Exchange of Health Information » Learn more