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May 1, 2024

Polis Signs Bill to Create Northern Colorado Medical School and Boost Health Care Training

DENVER, CO – Governor Jared Polis signed legislation today to help create a new medical college at the University of Northern Colorado (UNC), and other construction and renovation projects at various higher education institutions across the state to better support both health care and veterinary care education. HB24-1231, sponsored by Representatives Mary Young and Lindsey Daugherty and Senator Kyle Mullica will help address health care workforce shortages in Colorado.

“This critical law will help create a new college of Osteopathic Medicine at the University of Northern Colorado, which will serve as a strong economic driver for Greeley and the surrounding communities and meet the physician workforce needs of our rural and underserved neighborhoods,” said Rep. Mary Young, D-Greeley. “We’ve taken historic steps to increase access to health care Coloradans can afford and this law builds on those efforts to save people money on health care and address our workforce shortages. From CSU Fort Collins and MSU Denver to Trinidad State College, this law supports new higher education health care projects and programs that will serve generations to come.”

“Right now, Colorado faces a significant health care provider shortage causing lapses in care, longer wait times, and limited critical-care services in both rural and urban communities,” Senator Kyle Mullica, D-Thornton, said. “As the only working nurse at the Colorado State Capitol, I know how critical it is to build the health care workforce our state needs. I’m proud to have championed this new law that will invest in four institutions committed to addressing the state's health care challenges, and I look forward to continuing my work to ensure every Coloradan has access to the care they need to thrive.”

“Across the 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 law, Colorado will be better positioned to train and educate future osteopathic doctors, veterinarians, veterinary technicians, 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, also sponsored by Senator Barbara Kirkmeyer, R-Weld County, will stand up four projects related to health sciences education programs for medical professions. Specifically, the law will 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 law 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 law will also provide funding to help higher education institutions train more nurses, veterinarians and other mid-level health care and veterinary 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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