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April 17, 2024

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

DENVER, CO –  The House today passed legislation to help create a new medical college at the University of Northern Colorado (UNC) and support both health care and veterinary care at various higher education institutions across the state. HB24-1231, sponsored by Representatives Mary Young and Lindsey Daugherty, passed by a vote of 42-17 and would help address health care workforce shortages in Colorado.

“This critical bill will help create a new college of Osteopathic Medicine at the University of Northern Colorado, which will help meet the physician workforce needs of our region, especially in rural and underserved communities across our state,” said Rep. Mary Young, D-Greeley. “From saving people money on health care to addressing critical workforce shortages, we’ve taken historic steps to increase access to health care Coloradans can afford. From CSU - Fort Collins and MSU Denver to Trinidad State College, this bill supports new higher education health care projects and programs that will serve generations to come.” 

“All across our state, Colorado is experiencing a shortage of critical health care and veterinary providers, which is why we are standing up new medical and veterinary programs to train the next generation of professionals in these fields,” said Rep. Lindsey Daugherty, D-Arvada. “With this legislation, Colorado will be better positioned to train and educate future osteopathic doctors, veterinarians, nurses, and other critical allied health care providers. I’m proud of our work to lower barriers for Coloradans who want to enter these professions and better serve our communities.”   

HB24-1231 will 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 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 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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