The bill creates the health-care workforce resilience and retention program (program) using existing initiatives to ensure that Colorado's health-care workforce is adequately supported in order to meet the health-care demands of Coloradans and to support the resilience, well-being, and retention of health-care workers. The program is authorized to seek and expend gifts, grants, and donations to support the program. The program is exempt from the procurement code. The bill appropriates $2 million from the economic recovery and relief cash fund for the program.
The bill creates the practice-based health education grant program (grant program) to increase practice-based training opportunities necessary for health profession students enrolled in accredited Colorado schools to complete degree requirements and become licensed to practice. The primary care office in the department of public health and environment administers the grant program and shall conduct a stakeholder engagement process to determine key operational components of the grant program policies and procedures. The bill appropriates $20 million from the economic recovery and relief cash fund for the grant program.
The bill directs the state board of community colleges and occupational education (board) to administer the in-demand short-term health-care credentials program in order to support the expansion of available health-care professionals. The bill appropriates $26 million from the economic recovery and relief cash fund for these programs. The board shall allocate funds to community colleges, area technical colleges, local district colleges, and community not-for-profit organizations that deliver hybrid programming that leverages place-based supports in partnership with online accredited university programs through reimbursement based on students enrolled in eligible programs for fiscal years 2022-23 to 2025-26 to:
- Provide assistance for tuition, fees, and course materials for eligible programs;
- Support alignment with existing efforts, such as apprenticeship and work-based learning, for students to earn eligible program credentials that lead into health-care careers such as nursing; and
- If unexpended resources exist or if the program use is less than anticipated, to expand eligible programs in allied health based on in-demand credential needs or include high school equivalency support and attainment for students without a high school degree who participate in the program.
The bill requires the primary care office and the governor's office of information technology to work through the government data advisory board to determine data-sharing agreements that integrate data collected by the state under existing authorities that may inform the analysis of need, allocation of resources, and evaluation of performance of state-administered or state-financed health workforce planning or development initiatives.
Under current law, a nurse who holds a volunteer nurse license cannot get paid for nursing tasks. The bill removes this limitation.
The bill directs the nurse-physician advisory task force for Colorado health care to make recommendations on:
- Alignment of health-care licensing with federal statutory minimums;
- Identification of unnecessary regulatory burdens or barriers;
- Regulatory reforms that support health-care licensees to work at their full scope of practice; and
- Feasibility of temporary candidate licenses for students nearing the completion of an accredited health-care program.
The bill makes the following changes and additions to the school nurse grant program:
- Repeals the requirement of a 5-year grant cycle;
- Requires that the grant supplement, not supplant, funding for school nurse positions existing in the local education provider's most recent fiscal year prior to applying for a grant;
- Directs the department of public health and environment to annually award grants; and
- Appropriates $3 million to the department of public health and environment for the grant program from the economic recovery and relief cash fund.
The bill appropriates $10 million from the economic recovery and relief cash fund to the department of public health and environment. The department shall use this appropriation for recruitment and re-engagement efforts of workers in the health-care profession with current or expired licenses and staffing.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as introduced.)