Success from the session: Data on health care workforce
House Bill 1052, signed into law this week by Gov. John Hickenlooper, will set in motion a new and much more effective process for collecting data on Colorado's health care workforce.
Thanks to this new law, Colorado will be better able to identify and analyze shortages of programs and professionals in our health care system. Over time, this will help the state meet the challenges of underserved rural and urban communities.
Until now, efforts to address Colorado's health care workforce shortages were hampered by the lack of available and reliable data. The state relied on voluntary surveys that had very low return rates, but under the new law, data collection will be part of the licensing process.
Many health care professionals will provide information regarding practice location, practice setting specialty, education/training, date of birth and number of hours providing direct patient care. These professionals include: dentists, dental hygienists, physicians, physician assistants, nurses, psychologists, social workers, marriage and family counselors, licensed professional counselors and addiction counselors.
In his testimony in favor of HB 1052, the Bell's Bob Semro said, "It is a truism that you cannot mange what you cannot measure." The new law ensures that Colorado will have a reliable measurement of its health care workforce.
Gathering data is critical to effective planning. With this information, the state and health care providers will be better able to determine which health care professionals are needed and where. Ultimately, that will assist in building a health care workforce that serves all Coloradans.
Overall, we think that this is an important and very cost-effective first step in coming to grips with health care workforce shortages.
We thank Rep. Ken Summers and Sens. Betty Boyd and Ellen Roberts for sponsoring this bill and masterfully guiding it through multiple committees, and we thank Gov. Hickenlooper for signing it.
Article posted on May 31, 2012