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June 7, 2024

ICYMI: Bipartisan Bill to Strengthen Rural Health Care Becomes Law

DENVER, CO – Governor Jared Polis yesterday signed legislation into law administratively to improve health care in rural Colorado by designating funding to train, recruit and grow Colorado’s health care workforce.

“Folks who live in rural communities like those I represent on the Western Slope face unique challenges with the cost of and lack of access to health care,” said Senator Dylan Roberts, D-Frisco. “In the legislature, I’ve worked to boost our rural health care workforce, and this new law will expand that successful program and support our rural hospitals with much needed supplemental funding so that they can keep their doors open and continue to serve their communities."

“Coloradans living in rural and mountain communities, like mine, deserve access to high-quality health care – including mental and behavioral health care,” said Rep. Meghan Lukens, D-Steamboat Springs. “We’re taking steps to support Colorado’s rural health care workforce by driving funding toward rural hospitals and expanding mental health care support for our farmers and ranchers. I’m beyond proud to carry these bills at the Capitol because health care in every community and corner of the state matters.” 

SB24-221, also sponsored by Senator Barbara Kirkmeyer, R-Weld County, and Representative Marc Caitlin, R-Montrose, builds upon previous legislation that established the Colorado Rural Health Care Workforce Initiative to expand the number of health care professionals practicing in rural areas. This law would designate additional funding for institutions of higher education to establish or expand an existing rural health care provider training track, as well as provide over $1.7 million in direct assistance for rural hospitals.

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