Legislation applies lessons learned from COVID-19 Pandemic to ensure health facilities can meet increased demand for care
DENVER, CO – The House today passed legislation sponsored by Representative Kyle Mullica, an ER Nurse, to improve hospitals’ and health facilities’ preparedness to meet increased demands for care.
“Colorado’s nurses and health care providers stepped up during the pandemic in truly unimaginable ways to save lives and keep our hospitals staffed,” said Rep. Kyle Mullica, D-Thornton, an ER Nurse. “I’ve never seen so many colleagues tired and worn out from their shifts at the hospital, and it happened time and time again with every new surge in cases. This legislation will require hospitals to have plans in place to meet increased demand for bed capacity to alleviate pressure on nurses and ensure that gravely ill patients don’t have to wait in hospital lobbies because there aren’t any beds.”
HB22-1401, which passed the House 37-27, requires every Colorado hospital to have a plan to meet nurse staffing needs. This aims to mitigate the concerns of health care staff regarding hospitals’ ability to meet patient needs when demand surges. It applies lessons learned from the pandemic to enable hospitals to quickly surge their capacity. Hospitals will have to report their nurse staffing plans to the Department of Public Health and Environment and publicize them on their website. They will also have to evaluate their plans quarterly to address feedback and or complaints from health care providers.
The bill also requires hospitals to report the number of beds they are able to staff, their current bed capacity, and instances where staffed-bed capacity exceeds 80 percent. If hospitals do not take corrective action to address failures to meet required staffed-bed capacity or vaccine and testing capacities, they could face fines from CDPHE.