DENVER, CO — Governor Jared Polis today signed two bills into law that will support older Coloradans by creating a new grant program to expand access to critical services and increase the number of health care providers in Colorado who provide geriatric care.
“The bill Governor Polis signed today will dedicate $15 million toward projects that promote the health, wellbeing and security of Colorado’s seniors,” said Rep. Mary Young, D-Greeley. “This funding will help seniors access food, critical health care and transportation services. It will also be used to implement best practices for preventing falls and managing chronic diseases.”
“Colorado has one of the fastest growing senior populations in the country, which is why we need to act now to increase the number of providers in our state that specialize in caring for seniors,” said Rep. Brianna Titone, D-Arvada. “I’m proud that we were able to pass legislation this session that will incentivize health care providers with geriatric training or experience to commit to caring for older adults in areas where there aren’t enough providers.”
“Estimates show that we are going to face a significant shortage of health care providers who treat older Coloradans,” said Rep. Monica Duran, D-Wheat Ridge. “With Governor Polis signing this bill today, we are going to encourage more medical providers who treat older adults to come to Colorado and help improve access to care for seniors.”
SB21-290, sponsored by Representatives Mary Young and Mary Bradfield, dedicates $15 million to support Colorado’s aging population by expanding housing assistance, increasing access to health services, subsidizing nutrition programs, and improving transportation opportunities to medical appointments.
SB21-158, sponsored by Representatives Brianna Titone, D-Arvada and Monica Duran, D-Wheat Ridge, changes the Colorado Health Service Corps Program, a loan repayment program, to include geriatric advanced practice providers. Under the bill, registered nurses and physician assistance with geriatric training or experience could participate in the loan repayment program on the condition they commit to providing geriatric care to older adults in health professional shortage areas.
Colorado has an aging population. Colorado has the third fastest growing population over the age of 65, and Coloradans over age 65 are the fastest growing age group in the state. By 2050, the state demography office estimates that more than one in five Coloradans will be over age 65. Not only is there a national doctor shortage, but estimates also expect a significant shortage of providers who treat older patients.