DENVER, CO– The House Public and Behavioral Health and Human Services Committee today SB21-158, sponsored by Representatives Brianna Titone and Monica Duran, which seeks to increase the number of geriatrtic medical providers in Colorado.
“Colorado’s older population is growing quickly, but we’re already facing a shortage of qualified medical providers who specialize in treating people over the age of 65,” said Rep. Brianna Titone, D-Arvada. “We have to ensure that Colorado has the medical workforce needed to provide care to everyone as they get older. By allowing nurses and physicians assistants who work with geratric patients to participate in loan forgiveness programs, we will incentivise more providers to enter and stay in this critical field.”
“We know that Colorado, like the rest of the nation, is facing and will continue to deal with a medical provider shortage unless we take action that encourages more providers to commit to treating older patients,” said Rep. Monica Duran, D-Wheat Ridge. “I’m excited to see legislation move forward that will encourage more people to treat seniors by expanding eligibility for loan repayment to providers that commit to providing geratric care.”
SB21-158 changes the Colorado Health Service Corps Program, a loan repayment program, to include geriatrric advanced practice providers. Under the bill, registered nurses and physician assistance with geriatric training or experience could participate in the loan repayment program on the condition they commit to providing geriatric care to older adults in health professional shortage areas.
Colorado has an aging population. Colorado has the third fastest growing population over the age of 65, and Coloradans over age 65 are the fastest growing age group in the state. By 2050, the state demography office estimates that more than one in five Coloradans will be over age 65. Not only is there a national doctor shortage, but estimates also expect a significant shortage of providers who treat older patients.