DENVER, CO– The House today advanced legislation sponsored by Representatives Kyle Mullica and Yadira Caraveo to create the Colorado Health Care Services Reserve Corps.
“In addition to the strain and stress of the pandemic, the last year revealed gaps in our health care workforce that we have to address going forward,” said ER Nurse Rep. Kyle Mullica, D-Northglen. “As thousands of health workers faced the daily challenges of battling this pandemic, many providers struggled to find ways to help. By creating Colorado’s Health Care Services Reserve Corps, we can build back stronger and ensure our health care workforce is prepared to meet the next crisis.”
“Pediatricians like myself are trained to intubate young children and treat respiratory illnesses; we do it all the time, but I’m not trained in adult or emergency medicine,” said Rep. Yadira Caraveo, D-Thorntton, a physician. “Early in the pandemic, when emergency rooms were filling up with older patients, I didn’t have the training to jump in and help. Colorado’s health care providers are ready to serve when a crisis hits, and with the right training and resources, they would be more than willing to step up and fill any gaps that emerge. Whether it’s a natural disaster or another pandemic, Colorado’s Health Care Reserve Corps will bolster our response to the next health crisis.”
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.