Representative Rankin has been selected to receive the Legislator Community Health Champion Award for 2017
Representative Rankin has served as a member of the Colorado State House of Representatives since 2013. Throughout his tenure in the Colorado State Legislature, Representative Rankin has been a champion of issues important to CHCs.
I first met Bob at the Colorado Capitol in 2013 when he was a newly elected State Representative and I was a new CHC CEO at Mountain Family. Bob’s first words to me were: “Well, you don’t have a beard in your profile picture on your website.” I knew immediately that Bob had done his homework, reading about CHCs, Mountain Family Health Centers, and the issues of importance to us. He listened intently in that first meeting and gave all of the Mountain Family staff and board members the space to share their stories, ask questions of him, and he asked thoughtful questions of us.
During that first meeting, I shared our nascent Medicaid data with him and he leaned in and said: “This looks like you’re controlling costs in Medicaid and improving health. Keep sharing this data with me and the legislature – we need to understand this. And by the way, I think I am going to try to get on the Joint Budget Committee.”
Shortly thereafter, Representative Rankin started visiting Mountain Family sites regularly. As CEO, I typically lead the site visits with legislators with a tight, informative, and well-timed agenda. Bob always kills my agenda as he engages with staff, asks questions of the front desk about Medicaid enrollment, asks healthcare providers about what keeps them up at night, and asks behavioral health staff about substance abuse issues that patients struggle with. He shares ideas in the halls of Mountain Family and listens closely when staff and patients agree, and disagree, with his ideas. He will also openly challenge our ideas as well in the name of finding pragmatic policy solutions to continue the path of improving care while controlling costs.
As a member of the Joint Budget Committee, Representative Rankin was instrumental in the launch of House Bill 1281, authorizing the first Medicaid payment reform pilot in the state of Colorado, also called PRIME. The PRIME program sets the groundwork for a deepened delivery of improved health care quality, improved patient experience, and controlled healthcare spending in Western Colorado, showing real results in the first two years of operation. When legislation to reauthorize the program was needed in 2016, Representative Rankin strongly supported the legislation and worked to educate JBC members in both parties about the importance of permanently authorizing the pilots as ongoing programs.
Today, Representative Rankin continues to work tirelessly with the Division of Insurance, the Lieutenant Governor, Health Care Policy and Financing, western slope county commissioners, western slope state legislators, and healthcare leaders to find pragmatic solutions to exorbitantly high health insurance costs in Colorado’s mountain communities. When plans A through F fall flat, he starts listening harder and developing plans G, H and I.
We don’t always agree, but I know that Representative Rankin will listen to our perspective, and take action for what he believes to be in the best interests of his community. He is a true community servant.
For his work on legislative and budget issues impacting CHCs and their patients, we would like to present Representative Bob Rankin with CCHN’s 2017 Community Health Champion Legislator Award.