We at CSL are excited about the work that started this summer around the idea of encouraging more future health service professionals to take up a geriatric track while in school. A bill is being drafted and will soon be working its way through the legislative process that deals with this subject. Senator Jessie Danielson (D-District 20) is the sponsor and CSL is the lead advocacy group for this particular bill.

This bill clearly recognizes the significant demographic shift in Colorado’s population – a 43% increase in the over 65 age group between now and 2030, and a 250,000 person increase in the 75+ population in the same time period; right alongside the recognition of the significant value of geriatric care.

Geriatrics recognizes the importance of body, mind and social engagement in sustaining good health into aging. Geriatrics is the branch of medical care dealing with issues related to Aging and diseases of the Aging. There is currently an estimated shortage of over 200 geriatric practitioners in Colorado alone, and over 20,000 nationally.

This bill provides for a relatively small fund to pay student loan debt for those nurse practitioner and physician assistant students who take a one-year course in geriatric care AND agree to practice by using that geriatric care training in rural and under served areas of Colorado for a minimum of two years. By focusing on nurse practioners (NP’s) and physician assistants (PA’s), the state’s older population will benefit more quickly and more widely than by focusing on physicians who would require significantly more dollars for tuition loan repayment to encourage their study of geriatric medicine. This bill, if fully funded, will produce twenty new providers trained in geriatrics and it is hoped that this new core group of twenty will gradually train others across the state.

The more trained geriatric care providers there are, the longer older patients can thrive without the need for other, more costly and in many cases, less effective, forms of medical care.

Please support this bill by contacting your state representative and senator.

Robert Brocker
President—Colorado Senior Lobby
303 832 4535
303 862 8711