DENVER, CO– Legislation sponsored by Representatives Kyle Mullica and Yadira Caraveo to create the Colorado Health Care Services Reserve Corps today passed the Committee on Health and Insurance by a vote of 7-4X.
“To say this past year has been challenging wouldn’t come close to telling the whole story,” said ER Nurse Rep. Kyle Mullica, D-Northglen. “Thousands of health workers have faced an enormous burden while many providers have struggled to find ways to help. To build back stronger in the face of new and more dangerous emergencies, we have to make sure that our health care workforce is prepared to meet the next crisis. This bill would set us on the path to creating Colorado’s Health Care Services Reserve Corps, which could be called upon to bolster our state’s response to future health crises.”
“As a pediatrician, I’ve intubated young children and treat respiratory illnesses all the time, but I’m not cross trained in adult or emergency medicine,” said Rep. Yadira Caraveo, D-Thornton, who is a physician. “We have so many people who are ready to serve, and with the right training and resources, they would be more than willing to step up and help Colorado respond to the next crisis we face.”
Rising temperatures, harmful air quality, and more intense wildfires are making health emergencies that require a medical response more common. Thousands of nurses are retiring each year, and there is projected to be a national physician shortage of over 120,000 doctors by 2032 while Colorado has nearly 120 designated health professional shortage areas.
HB21-1005 would create a state-level task force made up of experts in licensing, medical professionals, hospital administrators, and cross training facilitators to layout plans to create the Colorado Health Care Service Reserve Corps. The task force will determine the membership of the Reserve Corps, create training practices and recommend benefits that could attract members to the corps. The task force may also make recommendations for legislation necessary to successfully establish the Reserve Corps.