GREENWOOD VILLAGE, COLO. – April 21, 2022 – Colorado hospitals and health systems are supporting their workforce with significant investments currently totaling more than $1.02 billion. Those efforts include pay increases, incentive bonuses, tuition reimbursement, training stipends, professional development programs, and more. Colorado’s hospitals and health systems will sustain this commitment to workforce, as it is the top opportunity facing the state’s health care system in the months and years ahead.
Colorado hospitals and health systems are also pleased to support the health care workforce investments package revealed today by Governor Polis and urge legislators to support this important bill. For the past several months, Colorado Hospital Association (CHA) and its member hospitals and health systems joined with other Colorado health care organizations to develop short-, medium- and long-term policy solutions for the health care workforce challenge facing Colorado. Many of those proposals are included in this legislation.
For the past two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed the health care workforce to the limit. Health care teams are suffering from stress, trauma, burnout, and increased behavioral health challenges. Recent studies have found that around 30 percent of health care workers are considering leaving their profession altogether, and nearly 60 percent reported impacts to their mental health stemming from their work during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Other data show that between 2019 and 2020, job vacancies for nursing personnel increased by up to 30 percent. These shortages are expected to persist, with an anticipated shortage nationally of up to 3.2 million health care workers by 2026. Within five years, Colorado will face a deficit of 54,000 medical assistants, home health aides, and nursing assistants, and a deficit of more than 10,000 registered nurses.[i]
This bill focuses on three key areas that the coalition identified: wellness and support; training, recruitment, and retention; and data and policy changes. The legislation proposes using $61 million of the additional federal funding available this year from the American Rescue Plan to fund the various components. The coalition is grateful to the legislative sponsors, Sen. Sonya Jaquez Lewis and Rep. Kyle Mullica, for leading on this crucial issue.
“We urge all legislators to support this once-in-a-generation opportunity to care for the health care heroes who have cared for Colorado,” said Joshua Ewing, CHA vice president of legislative affairs. “The pandemic has taken an extraordinary toll on our health care workforce, and this is our chance to give back and support their wellness, offer them training and education opportunities, and work to retain them in these essential roles. It is also critical to work now to remove barriers to entry and build the health care workforce of the future.”
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About Colorado Hospital Association
Colorado Hospital Association (CHA) is the leading voice of Colorado’s hospital and health system community. Representing more than 100 member hospitals and health systems throughout the state, CHA has served for a century as a trusted, credible, and reliable resource on health issues, hospital data and trends for its members, media, policymakers, and the general public. Through CHA, Colorado’s hospitals and health systems work together in their shared commitment to improve health and health care in Colorado. Learn more at www.cha.com.