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Public Health Emergency Ending

Public Health Emergency ending resulting in end to continuous coverage.


In January 2020, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) declared a public health emergency (PHE) in response to the outbreak of COVID-19. Congress passed legislation that ensured anyone enrolled in Health First Colorado (Colorado’s Medicaid program) was guaranteed to keep their health coverage during the PHE. This is known as the “continuous coverage requirement” and also applies to kids and pregnant people covered by Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+). Congress recently passed a bill that ends the continuous coverage requirement in spring 2023. U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra has formally extended the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE). The PHE can be extended for up to 90 days at a time and is expected to end on May 11, 2023. The Executive Office of the President, Office of Management and Budget, issued a Statement of Administration Policy on Jan. 30, 2023, that the Administration plans to extend the PHE to May 11.

What this means:

During the Public Health Emergency, Medicaid (managed by the county of residence) continued to send out redetermination packets and request for financial verifications. However, no one’s Medicaid coverage ended due to lack of redetermination submitted or verifications because of the ‘continuous coverage’ legislation. You likely continued to submit your packets as normal.

Beginning May 12th, the redeterminations that are sent out and requests for verifications that are sent out MUST be responded to within the time frame given, or eligibility will be affected.

 Suggestions from Health Care Policy and Finance (HCPF) on how to plan for the ending of PHE:

  1. Health First Colorado and CHP+ will return to normal eligibility renewal processes with renewals due in May and notice will be sent starting March 2023.
  2. The Department of Health Care Policy & Financing (HCPF) will take 12 months (14 months including noticing) to complete renewals for each of the approximately 1.7 million people currently enrolled.
  3. Members should:
    1. Update their contact information to ensure you receive your packet and you can be reached.
    2. Respond to and sign renewal paperwork to make sure you keep your Health First Colorado and CHP+ coverage if they are still eligible.
    3. Members can find out their renewal dates and access more information by going to the Health First Colorado Website.

 Additional info:

Creating a Peak account is an easy way to update member information (including address and contact information), access case information such as contact information on file, renewal dates, an online mailbox where all case communication is available (including redeterminations, requested verifications, and eligibility determinations), and coverage. Peak will also have a notice on the account home page if a redetermination is due or if documentation is needed. Use this link to access the PEAK Website.

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Celebrating IDD Awareness Month

In the spirit of IDD Awareness Month, we would like to share & celebrate the story of Joe B. (9-8-82 to 12-12-22). Joe was born without the Corpus Callosum and as a result he was non-verbal and used a wheelchair all his life. But Joe never let his challenges define him or stop him from living life to the fullest. Joe graduated from UCCS Pueblo with honors for a bachelor’s degree in fine arts. Joe discovered that visual art gave him a voice. The below paintings were part of a series in which each painting was partially black and white, partially color to respect how art brought color to his world. “Content provided by his HHP, Billie”


FCG month

Family Caregiver of the Month

Please join us in congratulating our most recent Family Caregiver of the Month, Craig! This nomination was submitted by Stephanie with the Denver/Colorado Springs Team.

We would like to nominate Craig Sullivan for Family Caregiver (FCG) of the Month. Since taking over as the full-time FCG, Craig’s passion has been nothing short of amazing. He is very mindful with person-centered-thinking, and not only keeps RS engaged with her community, but rather immerses her in it. For example, Craig and RS have attended tribute band’s concerts frequently. RS has established a relationship with the band and has her own set of drumsticks that were gifted to her from them. Craig and RS also like to celebrate Halloween and find much joy in creating a one-of-a-kind costume that takes months to plan. RS even won best costume at the Support Inc. Halloween party! As a Residential Coordinator, it is fun checking in with them because you know they will have a fun story to share of what they’ve been up to. Thank you for being a phenomenal advocate and caregiver. Congratulations, Craig!



Clinical Services- News & Information

New Leadership: The Clinical Team at Support Inc. has a new leader! Chris Sharkey recently took over the department as the new Associate Director of Clinical Services. Chris has been a well-respected Clinician at Support Inc. for numerous years now and we’re excited to see how the department flourishes under his leadership. If you see Chris, please send him a big congratulations!

What You Need to Know about Depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder

The Support, Inc. Clinical Team Provides the Facts, Care Options and Coping Strategies

Winter is officially here – bringing colder weather, shorter days and a shift in mood for many people. According to Christopher Sharkey, the director of clinical services for Support, Inc. – a leading provider of community-based solutions for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities – depression symptoms are similar to the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which can occur more often during the winter months.

“Many people will experience depression at some point in their lives. This is no different for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. However, depression can be easily missed in people who have social and communication disabilities,” explains Sharkey. “While there may be a difference in the diagnosis, the coping strategies are very much the same. This reinforces the fact that we are truly all more alike than we are different.”

The Support, Inc. clinical team is proud to provide the following important information and facts about depression and SAD and offer coping strategies.

What is depression?

Common symptoms of depression include:

  • Feelings of sadness that persist.
  • Loss of interest in activities you would typically enjoy.
  • Chronic fatigue.
  • Issues concentrating.
  • Changes to your sleep.

What is seasonal affective disorder?

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) shares many of the same symptoms as depression. The shorter days in winter can make it hard to get enough sunlight which can cause a drop in serotonin, affecting our mood. Serotonin is a chemical that sends signals between nerve cells and is thought to play a role in regulating your mood.

The reduction of daylight can also affect our sleep, also resulting in changes to our mood. There are a few ways to help determine the difference between depression and SAD.

  • Have you felt depressed at the start of winter over the past two years?
  • Do you feel better when winter ends?
  • Are there any relatives you know who experience SAD?

What to do?

Whether you are experiencing depression or SAD, seeing a therapist can be very helpful. There are also a number of coping strategies you can try using on your own, including the following.

  • Mindfulness
  • Adjust your daily routines to maximize sunshine (feel the sunshine on a walk).
  • Consider what leisure activities can happen in the darker hours such as connecting with a friend by phone, mindfully cooking, writing a letter or drawing.
  • Create a healthy sleep routine – avoid screens too close to bedtime; keep a consistent bedtime; and avoid caffeine later in the day.
  • Connect to your body through movement.
  • Exercise.

“If you are experiencing symptoms that are disrupting life, it is important to talk to your doctor and care providers,” says Sharkey. “Your doctor and care providers can work together to help determine what care options might be best for you.”

HR Corner

HR News- A Digital Win

The Support Inc. HR team is excited to have completed our first benefit enrollment entirely electronically through ADP. This made the enrollment process much easier for all employees. We are looking forward to continuing to migrate over to this system with self-serve options for contractors and employees, making life easier for our stakeholders! More details to come!

Thank you

January Anniversaries

Please join us in congratulating the below employees with a January anniversary!

Anna Anderson, 6 years on 1/17/2023

Elizabeth Hildebrand, 5 years on 1/15/2023

Ricki Eckdahl, 4 years on 1/1/2023

Elizabeth Lane, 4 years on 1/14/2023

Seth Boniface, 3 years on 1/12/2023

Gail Peters Hill, 2 years on 1/13/2023

Susan Salyards, 1 year on 1/1/2023

Brandon Thibodeau, 1 year on 1/3/2023

Paulyn Matibag, 1 year on 1/3/2023

Mary Beth Roth, 1 year on 1/6/2023

Nathan Algien, 1 year on 1/17/2023

Lisa Carrillo, 1 year on 1/21/2023