Concerning the Collection of Health Care Workforce Data from Health Care Professionals
House Bill 12-1052
Testimony to the House Economic and Business Development CommitteeRobert Semro, policy analyst, the Bell Policy Center
Feb. 2, 2012
My name is Robert Semro, and I am a policy analyst with the Bell Policy Center. The Bell is a non-partisan, non-profit research and policy organization dedicated to expanding opportunity for all Coloradans.
The Bell Policy Center strongly supports House Bill 12-1052. It is a truism that you cannot manage what you cannot measure. To date, workforce data has been dependent on voluntary surveys that have a traditional low rate of return. By using the existing licensing process, this legislation will help to secure critically needed health care workforce data in both an efficient and cost-effective way. With this data, Colorado will be better able to plan for future health care needs and, as a result, develop successful public policy.
Colorado faces multiple health care workforce challenges both today and in the future. For example, many rural communities in Colorado currently face workforce shortages. Under the national Affordable Care Act, greater access to health insurance coverage and public programs will place greater demands on Colorado's health care infrastructure. Also, by the year 2030, Colorado's 65+ population will increase by 147 percent. (1) By that year, Colorado's seniors will represent 18.5 percent of the state's total population, or 1.3 million people. (2) Given the greater health care needs of our aging population, the timing of this legislation is especially appropriate.
In order to face these challenges, the first step is to better understand the strengths and weaknesses of our current workforce infrastructure. Using the state's existing licensure and renewal process, this legislation will provide a window into health care professional training, workload, practice areas and specialties that is not fully available now. The creation of a voluntary professional advisory group will also ensure that future data surveys address real-world considerations developed from state-based experience and expertise.
In summary, the Bell Policy Center believes that HB 12-1052 is an appropriate and cost-effective method for quantifying Colorado's health care workforce, identifying current resource and service gaps, as well as helping to ensure an adequate number and distribution of health care professionals for the future. We urge you to support this bill, and thank you for the opportunity to share this testimony with you today.
1) University of Denver: Financing Colorado's Future: An Analysis of the Fiscal Sustainability of State Government, April 2011.
2) Colorado Health Institute: Long-Term Services and Supports in Colorado, November 2011