Susan E Birch, headshot (color), 2014.jpg

Sue Birch, MBA, BSN, RN

colorado department of health care policy & financing | Executive director

As Executive Director, Sue Birch oversees the operations and strategic direction of the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing. The Department’s budget is more than $8 billion and is the single state agency administering Colorado Medicaid and the Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) program. Birch was appointed the executive director of the Department by Governor Hickenlooper in January 2011. Birch directs the Department’s efforts to improve the health of Medicaid and CHP+ clients and increase access to care across the state while containing costs.

Under Birch’s leadership, the Department has successfully expanded coverage to more low income Coloradans while focusing on containing costs and improving service delivery. The uninsured rate decreased from 14.3% in 2013 to 6.7% in 2015 and the state saved approximately $285 million (gross savings) through the Medicaid Accountable Care Collaborative over the past four years. The Department has been awarded numerous grants and performance bonuses, including the highest bonus of any state in 2012 and 2013 in recognition for its innovation and modernization of eligibility and enrollment systems by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Birch serves on the Connect for Health Colorado Board and has be integral in modernizing and integrating the state’s health information technology systems. Birch continues to promote person-centeredness and client engagement and led efforts to develop one of the nation’s first mobile applications for Medicaid clients. Birch is leading the implementation of federal and state health care reform, while working with stakeholders to integrate care across the continuum and transform the Department’s health care delivery systems. The Department is driving clinical innovations across the state through collaborative projects and initiatives such as the Colorado Opportunity Project, the State Innovation Model (SIM) grant, and launching the Chronic Pain Disease Management Program which leverages telehealth to help connect primary care providers treat pain and reduce prescription painkiller abuse.

Director Birch has been honored at both the state and federal level for her commitment to improving Coloradan’s access to care. Most recently Birch received the 2014 Dr. Nathan Davis Awards for Outstanding Government Service in the category Outstanding Career Public Servant at the State or Local Level from the American Medical Association (AMA).

Director Birch has completed appointments to the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services and served as the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Livingston Fellow and the Robert Wood Johnson Executive Nurse Fellow.

Birch earned a nursing degree and a master’s degree in Business Administration, both from the University of Colorado.