Pro-Equality “Culturally Relevant Healthcare Training Act” Passes Out of Senate Committee

On April 20th, the Colorado Senate Health & Human Services Committee voted 5-2 to pass HB22-1267, the “Culturally Relevant Healthcare Training Act” onto the Senate Appropriations Committee. 

One Colorado, the state’s leading advocacy organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) Coloradans and their families, released the following statements:

In my own life, I’ve had my healthcare denied by insurance on the basis of my trans identity, and I’ve had to fight through that denial to obtain needed medical care. In that process I had to search to find supportive practitioners, psychiatrists, therapists and organizations who were knowledgeable about trans needs and trans identities; it’s not something you can ever take for granted. I’ve had to advocate for improved policies at many of the organizations that were involved in my healthcare. It was draining, it was arduous, and I discovered that it was unavoidable. Ultimately, finding those supportive professionals and educating those organizations was invaluable to my ability to continue the long process of appealing healthcare coverage denials. Patients should never be in the position of educating their healthcare providers. We need to know we can trust our doctors when we walk in the door.”  – Kathryn Vandegrift (she/her), individual who testified in favor of HB22-1267

“This bill is so vitally important to everyone who calls Colorado home because it provides the resources necessary to make cultural competency accessible and to connect leaders in these minority communities with our health care providers. This bill will make our state a leader in the country and show that Colorado believes in diversity and that right of every Coloradan to feel safe, welcome, and seen by their healthcare provider. As physician-in training, HB22-1267 will help make me better for the future as well as our medical community as a whole.” –Dr. William Tyler Crawley, General Surgery Resident and Graduate of Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine, who testified in favor of HB22-1267

“I sincerely support HB22-1267. This legislation is a necessary investment in the physical and mental health of all Coloradans, especially those marginalized by systems of power, privilege, and oppression such as members of the LGBTQ+ community. Colorado’s LGBTQ+ community experiences a variety of challenges regarding access to quality care. Even more, Transgender and gender-nonconforming folks face a significantly harder time finding culturally-relevant care than the general population. This is also true for LGTBQ+ folks that are intersectionally marginalized due to racism, ableism, classism, and others. As part of the LGBTQ+ community, as a trans person, as a Hispanic person, I experienced these challenges first-hand.” – Zamora Evans (they/them) Envision:You Program Coordinator, Queer, Hispanic educator and advocate, who testified in favor of HB22-1267

“I believe that a qualified, diverse, and culturally responsive health care workforce is essential to meeting the needs of our diverse membership and achieving health equity goals. This bill seeks to establish robust training opportunities for healthcare providers to ensure BIPOC communities are included in receiving the highest level of care, especially those who have experienced historical, systemic discrimination. I am supporting HB22-1267 so that racial and BIPOC communities, LGBTQ folks, veterans, and those with complex behavioral health needs will be able to access the quality healthcare they deserve.” –Senator Rhonda Fields (she/her), SD-29, Senate Assistant Majority Leader and Co-Prime Sponsor 

Healthcare providers in Colorado are treating people, not just patients. This is an excellent bill to build on development of culturally relevant and affirming healthcare programs. It’s about time that we recognize these issues and make this training available.” –Senator Joann Ginal (she/her), SD-14, Co-Prime Sponsor 

All Coloradans, particularly communities with long standing health disparities rooted in the legacy of historical marginalization, deserve safe and respectful healthcare from professionals they can trust, who are trained to be responsive to their specific needs. Provider training and education is an evidence-based method of addressing health inequities, and it addresses these inequities upstream at a systemic level.” – Nadine Bridges, MSW (she/her), One Colorado Executive Director

Dr. Michael Neil representing Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition, Bob Bongiovanni representing Colorado Individuals and Organizations Responding to AIDS, Dan Scales representing Vivent Health, and Steven Haden representing Envision:You also testified in support. 

The bill creates a $1 million grant program to fund the development of culturally relevant, affirming healthcare training programs for healthcare providers. Training programs will be created by approved nonprofits and statewide provider associations and will be available to all licensed, certified, or registered healthcare professionals. These training programs will focus on providing care to priority populations identified in the bill, including but not limited to LGBTQ individuals, people of color, veterans, people experiencing homelessness, and people with disabilities. 

Co-prime sponsors of HB22-1267 in the House are Representative Alex Valdez (HD-5) and Representative Andrew Boesenecker (HD-53).

As the 2022 legislative session progresses, One Colorado will continue advocating for LGBTQ Coloradans and their families.

Updated April 21, 2022.