CAFP Advocacy Primer

How do I use this primer?
Every year, the CAFP is at the Colorado Capitol advocating for you and your patients. Our work also extends to the federal government through the AAFP and beyond lawmaking through partnerships with agencies, stakeholders, and industry partners. 

Here we’ve compiled information on our current legislative priorities. Choose the topic of most interest to you, or peruse them all. 

Tell me about CAFP’s mission and values.
The Colorado Academy of Family Physicians’ (CAFP) mission is to serve as the bold champion for Colorado’s family physicians, patients, and communities through education and advocacy. Our values are dedicated to achieving equal access to healthcare and equitable health outcomes, and dismantling the structures, systems, and biases that prevent both. The CAFP represents over 2,500 family physicians, residents, and medical students across Colorado.

How does CAFP develop its legislative priorities?
The CAFP’s legislative priorities are developed through careful stakeholdering with our members, partner organizations, and the needs we see in our communities. The CAFP Legislative Committee is made up of more than 40 passionate, dedicated members. These doctors from across the state represent rural, urban, suburban, employed and independent family physicians, as well as students and residents. The committee reviews health policy-related bills and recommends stances and action at the State Capitol with guidance from the CAFP Board of Directors, Director of Policy and Government Relations, and lobbying team.

I have a question or idea about CAFP’s advocacy that’s not addressed in this primer. Who can I contact?
We encourage you to reach out to Erica Pike, Director of Policy and Government Relations at CAFP. You can contact her at 508-813-8856 or Erica@coloradoafp.org.

What is CAFP doing to address administrative burden?
Family medicine physicians are at their best when able to focus on providing high quality, affordable health care to their patients. In order to improve patient and provider experience, CAFP is working to streamline healthcare administrative processes through a multi-pronged approach. Those approaches are:

  • Improve transparency for providers and patients on their prescription benefits and the criteria insurers use to access those benefits.
  • Contribute to the design, implementation, adoption, and alignment of alternative payment models in and across Medicaid and the commercial market.
  • Support practice transformation efforts that strive to achieve the quadruple aim of improved clinical experience, patient experience, health outcomes, and decreased cost.
  • Participate in federal action to address burdensome processes that impede patient access to timely and affordable healthcare.

CAFP has been working on a bill that will be introduced this legislative session to streamline prior authorization requests in the commercial, Colorado-regulated market. CAFP is working hard to ensure the bill addresses barriers to access preventive health care services and prescriptions for patients’ with chronic conditions and transparency around formularies and prior authorization criteria to maximize the bill’s positive impact on our members and their patients.

How did this become a priority for CAFP?
CAFP polls its members each year to learn what is most important to them. Year after year, addressing administrative burden has been a top issue impacting respondents.

What is CAFP doing to improve healthcare access?
It is CAFP’s goal that all Coloradans are able to access high quality, affordable, equitable healthcare whenever they need it. Colorado has made great strides in this area over the last few years but there’s still lots of work left to do. CAFP is working with partners to protect access to comprehensive reproductive health and family planning services, expand access to health insurance coverage, and leverage budget requests and previous legislation implementation to increase access to high quality, coordinated, affordable care.

What is healthcare access?
Access means all Coloradans regardless of geographic location, socioeconomic status, race, gender, sexual identity, culture, or ability are able to obtain healthcare services such as prevention, diagnosis, testing, treatment, and management of their health conditions. For health services and prescription medications to be accessible, they must be affordable, widely available, and meet patient needs. 

How did this become a priority for CAFP?
CAFP polls its members each year to learn what is most important to them. In 2022, improving access was the second most important issue for respondents.

What is CAFP doing to support workforce?
An adequately supported workforce in healthcare is critical to improve access, assure high quality care, and avoid physician and provider burnout. For that reason, CAFP is working to improve career pathways and retention strategies for all healthcare professionals. We seek to expand and diversify the primary care workforce through state investment initiatives, respond thoughtfully to scope of practice efforts, and identify solutions that address barriers to maintaining a career in health care. 

What is workforce?
Health systems can only function with sufficient numbers of health workers. This workforce is made up of physicians, nurses, physician assistants, midwives, pharmacists, behavioral health professionals, public health workers, practice administrators and many more. When discussing supporting the healthcare workforce, all professionals who contribute to that system are important.

The CAFP encourages health professionals to work together as multidisciplinary, integrated teams in the best interest of patients. According to the AAFP, “Health systems and clinics should support an interdependent, team-based approach to comprehensive care delivery. It should address patient needs for high-value, accessible health care and be supported by enhanced communication and processes that empower non-physician staff to effectively utilize the skills, training and abilities of each team member to the full extent of their professional capacity.” (1)

How did this become a priority for CAFP?
CAFP polls its members each year to learn what is most important to them. In 2022, supporting the healthcare workforce was among the most important issues for respondents.

What is CAFP doing to address the social determinants of health?
Family physicians understand that the majority of what makes their patients healthy happens outside of the healthcare setting. That is why CAFP is engaging in solutions to climate health, the epidemic of gun violence, and more to support patient outcomes and overall health.

What are social determinants of health?
Social determinants of health are the conditions in the environments where people live, learn, work, and age that impact a wide range of health outcomes and quality of life. Examples of social determinants of health include safe housing, reliable transportation, racism and discrimination, educational opportunity, socioeconomic opportunity, exposure to pollution, access to healthy food and clean water, and many more. 

Medical care is estimated to account for 10-20 percent of what contributes to a healthy population, with the other 80 to 90 percent attributed to the social determinants of health(1). Addressing these conditions for Coloradans will create a healthier population overall.

How did this become a priority for CAFP?
CAFP polls its members each year to learn what is most important to them. In 2022, addressing the social determinants of health was among the most important issues for respondents.

  • 1  Magnan, S. 2017. Social Determinants of Health 101 for Health Care: Five Plus Five. NAM Perspectives. Discussion Paper, National Academy of Medicine, Washington, DC. https://doi.org/10.31478/201710c

What is the medical liability climate in Colorado currently?
The Health Care Availability Act (HCAA) in Colorado is a landmark law passed with bipartisan support that ushered in an era of medical liability insurance stability that endures today. Since its enactment in 1988, it has proven to be a key factor in attracting and retaining highly qualified physicians to practice in Colorado.

What is CAFP doing to contribute to Colorado’s stable liability climate?
In 2024, legislation would seek to increase the non-economic damages cap to $500,000 over a 5-year period, providing a balanced approach to compensating plaintiffs of medical liability while also ensuring accessibility, affordability and stability in Colorado’s health care system. Coloradans Protecting Patient Access (CPPA) is the coalition behind this legislation and CAFP is a coalition member.

Why is CPPA running legislation to raise the NED cap? There are several reasons, including the following:

  • Our NED cap is the 5th lowest in the country and has been unchanged for 20 years.
  • Every state has implemented some form of medical liability reform. Colorado is one of 28 states that limit non-economic damages in medical liability cases.
  • In the past two years, California and Nevada have passed similar legislation to amend the NED.

What else do I need to know? Currently, the Colorado legislature is considering this bill. Watch for speak outs and other calls to action from CAFP to lend your voice to the efforts to protect Colorado’s stable medical liability climate.

How did this become a priority for CAFP?
CAFP polls its members each year to learn what is most important to them. Maintaining Colorado’s stable medical liability climate was a top priority for respondents. Additionally, CAFP’s partners on this issue have determined now is the time for proactive action on this issue.