April 7, 2022

JOINT RELEASE: SIGNED! LEGISLATION TO ADDRESS HEALTH CARE WORKFORCE SHORTAGE BECOMES LAW

SB22-003 will create better pathways for students to enter the medical field, save students thousands in tuition and fees


DENVER, CO – Governor Jared Polis today signed legislation that would create better pathways for students to enter the medical field and help address the health care workforce shortage throughout Colorado.

SB22-003, sponsored by Senator Janet Buckner (D-Aurora) and Senate President Pro Tem Kerry Donovan (D-Vail) as well as Representatives Kyle Mullica (D-Federal Heights) and Tony Exum (D-Colorado Springs), would allow community colleges to offer full bachelor’s degrees to a greater range of nursing students to address the state’s health care provider shortage and connect students with in-demand jobs.

“We are facing a critical shortage of qualified, well-trained healthcare professionals, and the pandemic has only made things worse,” said Buckner. “This bill will help more students pursue their dream and land a good-paying job in nursing while giving Colorado hospitals a larger and better-trained pool of employees to hire from. By expanding these opportunities for students, we will strengthen our workforce and improve health care outcomes for all Coloradans.

“This law will boost Colorado’s health care workforce and build a healthier Colorado in the process,” said Mullica. “Getting more nurses from the classroom to the operating room will help ease some of the stress our health care workers have been facing. I’m proud of the work we’ve done to streamline the process for Coloradans to earn their BSN so we can get more talented, qualified nurses in the field.”

“Both rural and urban areas have felt the effects of our state’s shortage of nurses in hospitals,” said Donovan. “This bill will be a step towards providing hospitals with the staffing they need while saving people money on their education.”

“Boosting our health care workforce is a top priority and this law paves the way,” said Exum. “Community colleges have always been leaders in preparing Colorado’s students for success and now they’ll be able to prepare the next generation of nurses with a BSN program. This is a great step towards addressing Colorado’s health care workforce shortage head on by saving Coloradans money on earning their nursing degree and getting more qualified nurses in hospitals.”

SB22-003 would allow more students to enroll in BSN nursing programs, which will enable employers to grow internal talent who are familiar with their workplace’s culture and needs and allow students to earn a bachelor’s in nursing at a faster pace than in a traditional program, saving thousands in tuition and fees and addressing the nursing shortage head-on.

Improving access to BSN nursing programs will also increase diversity in the state’s nursing pool, and decrease equity gaps in the delivery of health care across Colorado.