New Law Passed to Improve Health Care in Rural Areas through Bipartisan Efforts

Governor Jared Polis recently signed legislation into law in order to improve health care in rural Colorado. This new law, SB24-221, was sponsored by Senator Barbara Kirkmeyer and Representative Marc Caitlin and builds upon previous legislation that established the Colorado Rural Health Care Workforce Initiative. The initiative aims to increase the number of health care professionals practicing in rural areas by providing additional funding for institutions of higher education to establish or expand rural health care provider training programs.

Senator Dylan Roberts emphasized the challenges faced by individuals in rural communities, such as the high cost and limited access to health care. He highlighted the importance of supporting rural hospitals to ensure they can continue serving their communities. Representative Meghan Lukens echoed this sentiment, emphasizing the need for access to high-quality health care, including mental and behavioral health services, in rural and mountain communities. She stressed the importance of driving funding towards rural hospitals and expanding mental health care support for farmers and ranchers.

Over $1.7 million in direct assistance will be provided for rural hospitals to support their operations under this new law. This funding will help ensure that these hospitals can continue to provide critical services to their communities, despite facing financial challenges due to population decline and aging infrastructure. The legislation also includes provisions for increasing telemedicine services in rural areas, which will help bridge the gap between patients and healthcare providers.

By Sophia Gonzalez

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