(Akron, CO – June 20, 2024) Representative Richard Holtorf (R- Akron) applauded the signing of SB24-121, “Licensure of Critical Access Hospitals”. This law authorizes the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to license critical access hospitals separately from general hospitals.

“Critical access hospitals are crucial to preserving the health-care of citizens in rural Colorado,” said Rep. Holtorf. “There is an acute health-care crisis in Eastern Colorado. We have hospitals shutting down. This legislation will keep the lights on at these facilities and secure quality, emergency care to underserved, rural citizens.”

Critical access hospital is a federal designation given to eligible rural hospitals by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The designation is designed to reduce the financial vulnerability of rural hospitals and improve access to healthcare by keeping essential services in those communities. To accomplish this goal, critical access hospitals receive certain benefits, such as cost-based reimbursement for Medicare services. Currently in Colorado, these facilities must meet the same license rules as other hospitals. By licensing these critical access hospitals separately, this legislation ensures these medical facilities will continue to enjoy all of the financial benefits of their designation.

“As the prime sponsor on this bill, I am honored to play a part in preserving access to care for our citizens. Travel time and distance are factors in rural Colorado. No one should die on the way to the hospital because the only facility is over two hours away. This bill will keep our citizens healthy, save lives, and allow medical professionals to keep serving our communities.”

With the passage of SB24-121, Colorado demonstrates a commitment to preserving critical access hospitals operating in our state, health-care accessibility, and narrowing the urban-rural divide of our state.