Representative Caraveo, bill sponsor, introduced and gave opening comments on SB21-181. Under current law, the Office of Health Equity (the office) in the Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) administers the Health Disparities Grant Program. The grant program is funded from the Health Disparities Grant Program Fund, which receives a portion of annual cigarette and tobacco tax revenue.
This bill renames the program as the Health Disparities and Community Grant Program and expands its functions. The program’s grantmaking scope is broadened to address social determinants of health for underrepresented populations. In addition, the bill specifies that the program fund may receive appropriations from the General Assembly, and requires the office to develop grant application criteria for community organizations seeking grant funding.
Every two years, starting January 1, 2022, the office must issue a report on health disparities and inequalities in Colorado that includes an assessment of social determinants of health and recommends strategies to address inequities.
The office is advised by the 15-member Health Equity Commission, which consists of representatives of state agencies and members of the public with diverse backgrounds and expertise. The bill expands the makeup of the commission to 22 members by adding representatives of 7 state agencies. The commission is required to develop an equity strategic plan in response to the office’s first report. Each state agency is limited to twenty hours of staff time to develop and implement the plan.