DENVER, CO--(Marketwired - Jun 5, 2013) - In an effort to build a health insurance model that helps its members be sustainably healthy, Colorado HealthOP, Colorado's first statewide nonprofit health insurance cooperative (CO-OP), has engaged a leading expert in family medicine and rural health as its new chief medical officer. Jack Westfall, MD, MPH, will lead Colorado HealthOP's efforts to support member health needs by building a robust statewide network of care, developing Colorado HealthOP's integrated care model and population health programs, and optimizing the CO-OP's clinical effectiveness.

"The aspiration to partner with patients and providers around improving health is a key concept of the CO-OP," said Julia Hutchins, CEO of Colorado HealthOP. "Dr. Westfall's expertise in family medicine, preventive care and rural health coupled with his experience in community health promotion will allow us to make this idea a reality for our members."

Colorado HealthOP offers quality, affordable Colorado insurance plans to residents of the state, with a special focus on rural areas. As the CO-OP's chief medical officer, Dr. Westfall will lead the development of a new model for promoting health. While insurance companies have historically provided support for when people are ill, Colorado HealthOP, led by Dr. Westfall, will build an environment that not only provides "sick care," but also supports healthy living. In an effort to optimize Colorado HealthOP's potential to be an enabler of health rather than a barrier to care, Dr. Westfall will work with healthcare providers to maximize quality of care and minimize bureaucracy associated with claims. He will additionally lend his expertise to the CO-OP's benefit design to ensure that the benefit structure supports prevention and health maintenance.

"Colorado HealthOP is building a collaboration among the group that pays, the group that provides and the patient who needs healthcare; these three groups that have historically worked separately and at odds with one another now work together in our model," said Dr. Westfall. "In Colorado HealthOP's model, we will take existing concepts and constructs that have been shown to support health, pull them together into one organization and implement them in Colorado."

Dr. Westfall serves as clinical professor of family medicine for the University of Colorado School of Medicine, an institution where he has held multiple teaching appointments since 1995, served as associate dean for rural health from 2004 to 2013, and was the Patrick and Kathleen Thompson endowed chair in rural health from 2008 to 2013. Board certified in family practice, Dr. Westfall has served as a family physician at the Yuma Clinic in Yuma, Colo., at Plains Medical Center in Limon, Colo. and for Rose Family Medicine in Denver. He is the founder and director of the High Plains Research Network, a practice and community based network that aims to improve health in eastern Colorado. He has also served as director of community engagement for the Colorado Clinical Translational Science Institute, a collaboration among the University of Colorado Denver, University of Colorado Boulder, and multiple healthcare and community organizations with a goal to accelerate the application of research into improved patient care and public health.

Dr. Westfall is a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, the Colorado Academy of Family Physicians, the American Public Health Association, the Colorado Public Health Association, the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine, the Colorado Rural Health Center and the National Rural Health Association.

Among other awards, Dr. Westfall has received the Chancellor's Diversity Award from the University of Colorado Denver and the North American Primary Care Research Group President's Award.

Dr. Westfall received his doctorate and a master's degree in public health from the University of Kansas. He completed his internship in internal medicine and pediatrics at the Wichita Center for Graduate Medical Education and completed his residency at the University of Colorado, Department of Family Medicine, where he also served as chief resident.

About Colorado HealthOP
Colorado HealthOP offers a new alternative to traditional health insurance in Colorado. A nonprofit health insurance cooperative, Colorado HealthOP and its members are committed to providing affordable, quality coverage to individuals and employers interested in making a difference in their own health, their employees' health and the health of their community. Colorado HealthOP aims to improve health outcomes by putting the responsibility for consumers' care back into the hands of the cooperative's members and providers. A private market solution tailored for individuals and employers, Colorado HealthOP will begin open enrollment on October 1, 2013 via Connect for Health Colorado, Colorado's health insurance marketplace, and through independent brokers and agents. Coverage will begin January 1, 2014. For more information about Colorado HealthOP, please visit or call 720.627.8900.

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