Colorado’s Renewed Emphasis on Seniors Legislation Promotes “Age-Friendly” Community Development – State of Reform


Colorado lawmakers have focused on supporting seniors and nursing facilities this session through a series of bills that have passed or are in the process of the General Assembly.

Governor Jared Polis signed the Modernization of the old Coloradans Act last month, which restructured, codified and reinvented a holistic, statewide approach to meeting the needs of older adults.

AARP Colorado says that of the more than 80 bills it has tracked this legislative session, none is more important than the latest update to the Older Colorado Act. The purpose of the law is to support older Coloradans through community planning, social services, health and wellness services, and strategies to prepare the state’s infrastructure for a growing population. older than Coloradans.

Colorado spends about $2 billion a year, including federal and state funds, on a wide range of programs across seven departments to address issues of aging and provide services to second fastest aging population in the nation. These aging services are provided by Medicaid, regional agencies on aging (AAA), financial assistance through old age pension, property tax relief, and protections against fraud, exploitation, and abuse.

Aging advocates note that the legislative efforts are reshaping the way state and local governments, nonprofit and private sectors, foundations and regional organizations think about and ultimately serve older Coloradans in the coming years.

“We have participated in and supported investments in affordable housing, transportation, broadband infrastructure, local government, and the kind of long-term services and supports that help keep people in their homes and communities for as long as possible. as possible,” said Bob Murphy. , AARP Colorado state director in a statement to State of Reform. “We particularly focus on the type of state or federal funding that has a direct impact on local or regional efforts to achieve these goals. For example, Colorado has a regional system of 16 AAAs that provide essential services, including transportation and meals, on the ground throughout the state.

Senate Bill 185 would extend grant programs to continue investing in projects that promote the health, equity, well-being and safety of older Coloradans across the state. SB 185 is part of a suite of bills designed to achieve the goals of the Strategic Action Plan on Agingwhich launched in 2016 and provides insight into planning for and meeting the needs of former Coloradans, now and in the future.

Also under study, House Bill 1247 and Senate Bill 111 would expand support for nursing facilities through additional payments and grants, respectively. HB 1247 proposes $27 million in incentive payments to public nursing facilities, funds that would be earmarked for the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF) to issue additional supplemental payments to providers at health care facilities nurses. SB 111 would provide grants to nursing facilities from a fund established by the Departments of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) and the HCPF to address infectious disease prevention and control.

House Bill 1333 would raise the minimum wage for nursing home workers to $15 an hour, which is just one of many labor-related bills being considered to address the shortage of medical workers in emergency.

Problems with the State COVID-19 testing companystaffing shortages and lack of infection control protocols in some facilities have led to the highest mortality rate in retirement homes in the country during the 2020 winter surge. There have been some 28,000 COVID-19 infections and more than 1,900 deaths among residents and staff of Colorado nursing homes reported since April 2020.

An estimated 2,000 workers left the nursing home industry over the same period, causing a staffing shortage that forced providers to stop accepting new residents due to their inability to properly manage people elderly already in their care.

the colorado for life The initiative is a collection of state, regional and local strategies that support aging in the community. It is a vehicle to advance efforts to help seniors move forward in Colorado. Thanks to the initiative, the Strategic Action Planning Group on Aging and the Colorado Commission on Aging work with local state and community groups on effective and sustainable solutions. Murphy, who serves on Lifelong Colorado’s steering committee, says the goal is to create “liveable communities” that provide age-friendly infrastructure and services, planned with a bottom-up approach to be accessible, inclusive, safe and socially connected.

“We also have a strong network of livable or age-friendly communities where local stakeholders and decision-makers plan together the future of their communities with an age-friendly lens. This effort is supported by AARP Colorado, the Department of Local Affairs, the five DFOs, the sixteen AAAs and, in the form of Lifelong Colorado, the executive branch as well,” he said.

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