Funds sought to help nursing facilities retain and recruit front line workers
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jan. 4, 2022
Dept. of Health Care Policy & Financing
Denver, CO - Today Governor Polis and the Office of State Planning and Budgeting, in collaboration with the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing (Department), submitted a budget request package to the Joint Budget Committee (JBC) to strengthen Colorado’s nursing facilities. The first request includes $20 million ($10 million in state General Fund and $10 million in federal matching funds), which would provide temporary payments to nursing facilities in fiscal year 2021-22 to support workforce and industry sustainability. The payments would be used to retain and recruit additional staff to enhance nursing facilities’ ability to accept patients who are ready for discharge from hospitals.
“Nursing homes are struggling with the impact of the COVID19 induced economic downturn while also struggling to find and retain workers due to the current health care workforce shortage,” said Kim Bimestefer, executive director for the Department. “This funding would deliver financial support to nursing homes to help them better care for our seniors and people with disabilities in these settings.”
The second request seeks to align nursing facility wages with those of direct care workers who serve people who receive home and community-based services. Accordingly, the Department has requested additional funding for fiscal year 2022-23 to enable nursing facilities to pay their workers a minimum of $15 per hour. This request asks for $4.8 million ($2.4 million in state General Fund and $2.4 million in federal matching funds) to support the critical work of nursing facilities as they continue to weather the pandemic’s impact on the labor market for direct care workers.
These requests represent an increase of less than 0.5% from the Department’s fiscal year 2021-22 Long Bill total funds appropriation.
About the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing: The Department administers Health First Colorado (Colorado's Medicaid program), Child Health Plan Plus, and other programs for Coloradans who qualify. For more information about the Department, please visit HCPF.Colorado.gov.