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February 28, 2024

Bill to Create Northern Colorado Medical School and to Boost Health Care Training Passes Committee

DENVER, CO –  The House Health & Human Services Committee today passed legislation to help create a new medical college at University of Northern Colorado (UNC) and support health care and veterinary care at various higher education institutions across the state. HB24-1231, sponsored by Representatives Mary Young and Lindsey Daugherty, would help address health care workforce shortages in Colorado.

“This monumental legislation will help fund and facilitate a new college of osteopathic medicine at UNC, which is key to addressing Colorado’s shortage of primary care physicians in our rural and underserved communities” said Rep. Mary Young, D-Greeley. “We’ve been hard at work to tackle our state’s health care workforce shortage and this landmark legislation jumpstarts the creation of a new medical school in Greeley, a Veterinary Health Education Complex in Fort Collins and two other health care programs at MSU Denver and Trinidad State College.”

“From nurses to veterinarians, Colorado is experiencing a critical health care workforce shortage that’s affecting the health and well-being of Coloradans,” said Rep. Lindsey Daugherty. “This groundbreaking bill helps Colorado train and educate future doctors, veterinarians and other health care providers in Colorado. I’m proud to champion this bill that will increase access to high-quality health care in communities across the state and help Coloradans and their animals lead safe, healthy lives.”

HB24-1231, which passed committee by a vote of 12-1, would stand up four projects related to health sciences education programs for medical professions.

Specifically, the legislation would fund the:  

  • Construction of a new College of Osteopathic Medicine at the University of Northern Colorado (UNC)

  • Construction of the Health Institute Tower at Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSU Denver)

  • Construction of the Veterinary Health Education Complex at Colorado State University (CSU)

  • Renovation of the Valley Campus Main Building at Trinidad State College

This legislation will jumpstart a second-of-its-kind medical program at UNC, which will help streamline 150 new osteopathic doctors into the workforce each year and help address primary health care needs of Coloradans. The UNC College of Osteopathic Medicine is expected to generate $1.4 billion over the next 20 years in economic impact, with an estimated $500 million of economic impact to remain in Weld County. The legislation will also provide funding to help higher education institutions train more nurses, veterinarians and other mid-level health care professionals. 

Colorado is facing a significant health care provider shortage that is causing lapses in care, longer wait times, and limited critical-care services in both rural and urban communities. HB24-1231 is the state’s largest higher education investment aimed at bolstering the state’s health care workforce so Coloradans can receive the health care they need, when they need it. 

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