Colorado faces a shortage of healthcare providers and rural areas are especially hard hit. There are counties in our state that do not have a primary care physician, a dentist or dental hygienist and increasingly pharmacies and pharmacists are disappearing. Efforts to address Colorado’s healthcare workforce shortages are limited by a lack of reliable and available data on our existing workforce. Currently we don’t know when a physician holds a license, but no longer practices. We don’t know which Advanced Practice Nurses have prescriptive authority or training in delivering babies. And we don’t know whether a dentist is practicing in a private practice or in a safety net setting. This system will present an accurate picture of Colorado’s healthcare workforce.
The data collected through HB1052 will help us better understand our supply of providers, as well as identify our gaps. By understanding the practice environment, we can focus our healthcare workforce development efforts on areas with the greatest current and projected need. The passage of this bill is a huge win for Colorado, and particularly rural Colorado, as it gives communities the opportunity to identify gaps in advance and plan for them.