(May 29) – Earlier today, Gov. Polis signed two bills that will improve safety at freestanding emergency room departments and increase health care access in rural schools across the state.

“This bipartisan new law is about ensuring the safety of patients and that emergency departments in rural, urban and suburban communities offer the best services available,” said Rep. Mullica, D-Northglenn.

HB19-1010 will bring freestanding emergency departments under the same regulatory umbrella as traditional hospital emergency rooms to ensure the safety and wellbeing of patients. This will ultimately improve the quality of care for patients and increase health care affordability.

This new law will create a new license for Freestanding Emergency Departments (FSEDs) through the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). It also requires FSEDs to medically screen every patient seeking care as well as prohibit them from delaying a medical examination in order to inquire about the patient’s ability to pay for the care or their insurance status.

Rep. Mullica is an emergency room nurse by profession. The bill was co-sponsored by Rep. Lois Landgraf, R-Fountain.

HB19-1010 passed with bipartisan support by a vote of 54-9 earlier this year.

Gov. Polis also signed Rep. Mullica’s bill to hire more school nurses in schools across Colorado, especially schools in rural areas and in disadvantaged communities.

“As a nurse, I see first hand how untrained school staff are administering medication to students with chronic illnesses. This can be dangerous for the staff and especially for the students,” said Rep. Mullica.“This bill would ensure Colorado’s kids have access to health care professionals in their schools. School nurses provide a range of health care services to our students while also handling medical emergencies during the school day.”

HB19-1203 would provide grants to improve the ratio of school nurses to students while also prioritizing nurses in rural areas and lower-income communities. This bill also allows school nurses to partner with local public health agencies so that nurse practitioners can also serve in schools.

Currently, there are 632 nurses that serve 910,000 school-aged students. That’s roughly one nurse for every 1,500 to 1,700 students.

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