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Expand Access Behavioral Health Care Providers

Concerning modifications to the Colorado health service corps program administered by the department of public health and environment to expand the availability of behavioral health care providers in shortage areas in the state, and, in connection therewith, making an appropriation.
2018 Regular Session
Health Care & Health Insurance
Labor & Employment
Bill Summary

Opioid and Other Substance Use Disorders Interim Study Committee. The bill modifies the Colorado health service corps program administered by the primary care office in the department of public health and environment as follows:

  • For purposes of determining areas in the state in which there is a shortage of health care professionals and behavioral health care providers to meet the needs of the community, allows the primary care office, under guidance adopted by the state board of health, to develop and administer state health professional shortage areas using state-specific methodologies;
  • Allows behavioral health care providers, which include licensed and certified addiction counselors, licensed professional counselors, licensed clinical social workers, licensed marriage and family therapists, licensed psychologists, licensed physician assistants with specific training in substance use disorders, advanced practice nurses, and physicians certified or trained in addiction medicine, pain management, or psychiatry, and candidates for licensure as an addiction counselor, professional counselor, clinical social worker, marriage and family therapist, or psychologist, to participate in the loan repayment program on the condition of committing to provide behavioral health care services in health professional shortage areas for a specified period;
  • Directs the advisory council to prioritize loan repayment and scholarships for those behavioral health care providers, candidates for licensure, or addiction counselors who provide behavioral health care services in nonprofit or public employer settings but permits consideration of applicants practicing in a private setting that serves underserved populations;
  • Establishes a scholarship program to help defray the education and training costs associated with obtaining certification as an addiction counselor or with progressing to a higher level of certification;
  • Adds 2 members to the advisory council that reviews program applications, which members include a representative of an organization representing substance use disorder treatment providers and a licensed or certified addiction counselor who has experience in rural health, safety net clinics, or health equity;
  • Modifies program reporting requirements and requires annual reporting that coincides with required SMART Act reporting by the department; and
  • Requires the general assembly to annually appropriate $2.5 million from the marijuana tax cash fund to the primary care office to provide loan repayment for behavioral health care providers and candidates for licensure participating in the Colorado health service corps and to award scholarships to addiction counselors participating in the scholarship program.

The bill appropriates $2.5 million from the marijuana tax cash fund to the department of public health and environment for use by the primary care office in the prevention services division to implement the bill.

(Note: This summary applies to the reengrossed version of this bill as introduced in the second house.)


Became Law


Bill Text