Health and Wellness Sector Partnership

Background on Project

For an overview on the history of the project, read the following:

The Launch:
On November 4th, 2013, Northwest Colorado Council of Governments Economic Development District (NWCCOG EDD) held a meeting of healthcare providers and industry partners to explore opportunities and challenges in the region’s health and wellness industry. NWCCOG EDD initiated this effort because of the realization that health and wellness in our region is a critical driver of our economy. Health and Wellness provides 4,100 jobs to our region, and was one of the fastest growing industries over the last 5 years, posting a 17% increase in jobs from 2008 to 2013*. Further, given the aging of the baby boomers, and the vast numbers of that demographic group we have in this region, this industry is projected to grow even more. The Health and Wellness sector partnership launch’s goal was to explore these opportunities further, and find ways to collaboratively leverage the growth opportunities for our industry.

Participants identified the following priority opportunities driving growth of the sector:

  • Greater focus on wellness is driving new markets: Increased employer and insurer focus on wellness. Increased demand for wellness services.
  • Policy changes are driving new patients into the system: Expanding coverage of Medicaid through the ACA could lead to an influx of new patients in the system.
  • New and Changing Roles for Health Care Providers: From better communication with behavior health to better management of chronic conditions across care providers, new integration models allow regional health care providers and organizations to be better linked to provide patient care. This has the potential to revolutionize the way health care systems in Region 12 work together.

To capitalize on these promising opportunities to grow the sector, participants then identified a priority area for action: develop a wellness prototype that creates more demand for wellness from employers, insurers and the general public.


Exploring the Statewide Strategic Plan for the Health & Wellness Industry
As a next step in our industry partnership, NWCCOG EDD partnered with the Vail Valley Partnership on March 19th, 2014, and brought together employers in the health and wellness industry, as well as industry partners including economic development stakeholders, workforce, and education, for a presentation on the statewide strategic plan for the health and wellness industry entitled Healthy Economy, Healthy Colorado: A Strategic Action Plan for Colorado’s Health & Wellness Industry. The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) partnered with the Colorado Health Institute to develop an industry-led plan that outlines suggested action items to create jobs and encourage economic growth in the health and wellness industry. The sector is poised for growth, but local health and wellness businesses must be proactive and strategic in achieving success. Healthcare and wellness businesses are major drivers of our regional economy and this strategic plan provides a roadmap to assist industry partners in strongly positioning themselves for the future.

After that presentation, the following 3 priority areas emerged:

  • Identify business opportunities for the Health & Wellness Industry
  • Worksite wellness and how it affects businesses’ bottom line
  • The high cost of healthcare in our region

Next Steps

  • Focus Group: On June 25th, 2014 the partnership held a small focus-group discussion with a number of other private health and wellness business leaders from our region to further explore opportunities in the health and wellness industry. This focus group looked to industry leaders for their  insights and interests as local health and wellness business leaders to see if there are areas in which public and private partners might work together to improve business outcomes for this sector. We also discussed the merits of convening a regional ‘sector partnership’ of wellness businesses to work collaboratively towards solutions to mutually shared challenges or to collectively seek out new opportunities.
  • Health & Wellness Business Symposium: August 14th 2014
  • Second Launch: Tuesday, Sept. 9th at Colorado Mountain College Edwards



Colorado Health Institute Work on the Plan