Governor Jared Polis to Sign New Laws to Protect Colorado’s Economy & Health, Lower the Cost of Prescription Drugs, Cut Red Tape & Save Health Care Workers Money, & Implement Administration’s COVID Readiness Plans

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Gov. Polis, in partnership with the legislature, continues to save Coloradans money on prescription drugs and essential everyday items, ensure Coloradans are healthy and thriving with robust support for public health preparedness, and support Colorado’s strong economy

THORNTON — Today, Governor Polis will sign new laws to act on lessons learned,  honor the sacrifices that all Coloradans made to protect hospital capacity, and ensure healthcare readiness for Colorado. This legislative effort will implement the steps outlined in the Governor's Roadmap to Moving Forward, ensuring that Colorado’s emergency and health systems are prepared to meet the needs of Coloradans. 

“Today, I am proud we are making health care more accessible, affordable and reliable in Colorado, as we take bold steps to lower the cost of prescription drugs and save healthcare workers money,” said Gov. Polis. “We are making transformational investments in our public health system to ensure healthcare readiness for any current or future public health need.”

Gov. Polis, in partnership with the legislature, is focused on saving health care workers money. The Governor will sign HB22-1298 into law, sponsored by Rep. Mullica, Sen. Jaquez Lewis and Sen. Nick Hinrichsen of Pueblo to save healthcare workers, including nurses, nurse aids, and psychiatric technicians, money on licensure and certification fees. 

"We know how hard it has been for our healthcare workers the last 2 years dealing with this pandemic and what this legislation truly does is to try to bring some relief to these individuals who take care of the people that we love, our family, our friends, and our community," said Senator Sonya Jaquez Lewis (D-Boulder), sponsor of HB22-1298. 

A new law signed by the Governor today and led by Rep. Kyle Mullica of Thornton and Sen. Jacquez Lewis of Boulder makes key investments in the healthcare workforce by developing provider wellness and support programs, creating financial aid opportunities for in-demand credential programs including Certified Nursing Assistants, and expanding nurse preceptor and clinical opportunities. The law will also provide flexibility for health care licensure and care provisions, while continuing to build and sustain Colorado’s healthcare talent pool for the future. 

"The legislative funding in SB22-226 will draw more healthcare providers into our Colorado workforce at a time when we really need them. It's the largest state investment in our healthcare professions to date and will give Nurses and other healthcare heroes the advanced training skills and wellbeing support they depend on to offer better quality care to Coloradans now and into our future," said Senator Sonya Jaquez Lewis (D-Boulder), sponsor of SB 22-226. 

Another bill, HB22-1352, signed into law today by Gov. Polis and championed by Rep. Mullica  will ensure the state has adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) stockpiles, including masks and gloves, in both the public and private sectors for when the national stockpile is not adequate. The new law empowers the Department of Public Safety to get and maintain a critical supply stockpile of supplies and ensures hospitals, public health agencies, and trauma centers maintain an adequate stockpile of PPE and their staff know how to properly use it. 

“The last few years have been challenging, but we’ve learned a lot and we’re in a much better position than we were two years ago,” said Senator Sonya Jaquez Lewis (D-Boulder), sponsor of HB22-1352. “It’s now time to apply those lessons as we begin to live alongside this disease and balance returning to normal, while keeping our communities safe. This legislation will boost our emergency stockpile of PPE so that our health care providers have the critical equipment they need to respond to the next disaster and keep us safe when a public health emergency strikes.”  

Gov. Polis will also sign HB22-1401 into law to ensure Colorado’s hospitals have staffed surge capacity in order to respond effectively to emergencies. Led by Rep. Mullica and Senate Majority Leader Dominick Moreno, the bill also supports nursing staff by establishing nurse staffing committees to foster shared leadership among staff and administration, and incorporates testing, treating, vaccinating against COVID and other emergent diseases into traditional medical settings. Gov. Polis issued a signing statement on this bill.

"Every day, Colorado's nurses go above and beyond to save lives and keep our hospitals running," said Senate Majority Leader Dominick Moreno, sponsor of HB22-1401. "As a result, far too many of our healthcare workers are overworked and burnt out from the demands of their jobs. By requiring hospitals to establish a plan to meet increased demand for patient care, we can combat those feelings of burnout within our nurses and ensure a high level of patient care that Coloradans deserve.”

In February, the Polis Administration released "Colorado’s Next Chapter: Our Roadmap to Moving Forward" to ensure we never ask all Coloradans to make significant sacrifices in the future by being better prepared and having certainty and reliability in the face of COVID-19 or any potential future emergency. It also outlines how we plan to keep Coloradans safe and enhance our thriving economy. Governor Polis today signed legislation into law to implement these standards and ensure Colorado’s healthcare system is prepared and ready for any current or future public health needs. 

After signing legislation in Thornton, Governor Polis will visit Tepeyac Community Health Center in Denver to sign legislation to increase access to high-quality behavioral health care. Governor Polis will sign the bipartisan HB22-1302, led by Rep. Chris Kennedy, Rep. Perry Will, Sen. Sonya Jaquez Lewis, and Sen. Kevin Priola along with HB22-1325 sponsored by Rep. Chris Kennedy, Rep. Yadira Caraveo, and Sen. Joann Ginal to support whole person-care that addresses physical and behavioral health and ensures Coloradans receive the support and care they need to thrive. 

“Anyone who has tried to access behavioral health care in Colorado knows how hard it is to navigate the system as it is today,” said Sen. Sonya Jaquez Lewis (D-Boulder), sponsor of HB22-1302. “That’s why we’re working to fix this broken system so that it meets people where they are before a crisis occurs. This bill will ensure that our primary care physicians are better equipped to connect patients with the appropriate behavioral health services they need.” 

Governor Polis will also sign bipartisan legislation led by Rep. Gonzales-Gutierrez, Rep. Naquetta Ricks, Sen. Faith Winter, and Sen. Bob Rankin to provide transformative support for local governments and nonprofit organizations to implement innovative, community-based programs with the goal of filling regional gaps across the continuum of care and improving behavioral health outcomes for Coloradans across the state — including children, youth and families.

Governor Polis will then head to Fort Logan and to sign HB22-1303, led by Rep. Judy Amabile, Rep. Shane Sandridge, Sen. Faith Winter, and Sen. Jim Smallwood to expand access to inpatient and residential treatment options for Coloradans seeking behavioral health care. Under the new law, Fort Logan will add 16 inpatient beds, and 125 additional beds will be added at residential treatment sites across the state. 

Continuing his commitment to save Coloradans money on prescription drugs, Governor Polis will visit Aurora to sign HB22-1370, led by Rep. Iman Jodeh, Rep. Emily Sirota, Sen. Faith Winter, and Sen. Janet Buckner. The new law will save employers and Colorado patients money on prescription drugs and ensure Coloradans can depend on their health care coverage to support their health needs. While in Aurora, Governor Polis will also sign HB22-1292 to support the oral health workforce, sponsored by Rep. Mandy Lindsay and Sen. Sonya Jaquez Lewis. 

Prescription drug rebates can lower the cost of medications, but only if insurance companies don’t keep the savings for themselves,” said Rep. Emily Sirota (D-Denver), sponsor of HB22-1370. “This legislation will lower the cost of prescription drugs and ensure that consumers, not big corporations, get the savings from manufacturer rebates. Importantly, this legislation requires transparency so patients can know exactly what they’ll have to pay in copays before they get care.”

Taking bold steps to provide real relief to the youngest Coloradans seeking critical behavioral health services, Gov. Polis will sign the bipartisan HB22-1283 sponsored by Rep. Michaelson Jenet, Rep. Mary Bradfield, Sen. Janet Buckner, and Sen. Kevin Priola, to expand access to and affordability of behavioral health care for Colorado’s youth and families.