DENVER (March 13, 2020) – The Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) is implementing two initiatives to reduce the strain on the healthcare workforce as part of the state’s ongoing efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19, Gov. Jared Polis announced at a news briefing Friday morning.
“In order to scale up our healthcare workforce capacity, I have asked the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies to cut through the red tape on licensing our medical professionals so that medical professionals – including pharmacists, nurses, doctors – who are licensed in other states but residing here can be immediately licensed in Colorado as quickly as possible to address this shortage,” the Governor said at the Capitol.
The Division of Professions and Occupations (DPO), which falls under DORA’s umbrella structure, today issued guidance to qualified healthcare practitioners who may not be licensed to practice in Colorado, but can take advantage of current statutory provisions and exemptions in order to immediately enter the workforce and assist in testing, treating, and caring for Colorado patients.
Professions under DPO’s auspices include many in the healthcare fields, including Medical, Dental, Nursing, Pharmacy, and numerous specialties.
Gov. Polis also has directed DPO to remove impediments to licensure for medical professionals from both inside and outside Colorado, allowing for faster insertion into the state’s healthcare workforce and provide the ability to back fill positions, as necessary. The Division plans to release emergency measures aimed at expediting the licensure process for individuals in the healthcare in the coming days.
The Division is also working to implement temporary changes to rules as an emergency action under the Governor’s authority that will expand the ability to test for the Coronavirus via qualified professionals other than doctors and nurses.
“DORA recognizes the need for qualified health care providers to assist in the testing, care, and treatment of Coloradans will only increase in the coming days and weeks,” stated DORA Executive Director Patty Salazar. “These emergency provisions, ordered by Governor Polis, will enable providers from out of state, those not currently practicing – such as retired or semi-retired professionals, or those whose license may have expired to provide much-needed support to our health care system.”
Polis pointed out the importance of not overloading the healthcare system which is already being put to the test. He asked doctors and nurses who aren’t currently in the workforce – having retired, partially retired, or having joined another field, but who are connected to a license that can be reactivated, to contact past employers in case the state reaches surge capacity.
“We need all hands on deck and the full weight of our medical community on this,” he said.
###The Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) is dedicated to preserving the integrity of the marketplace and is committed to promoting a fair and competitive business environment in Colorado. Consumer protection is our mission. Visit www.dora.colorado.gov for more information or call 303-894-7855/toll free 1-800-886-7675.