Elisabeth Arenales, The Denver Post

Colorado is a young state that is getting old fast. By 2030, Colorado’s population of residents older than 65 will be 125 percent larger than it was in 2010, growing from 550,000 to more than 1.2 million.

Helping to fulfill that hope for the frail elderly and disabled, Programs of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) offers a range of services to people over 55 who qualify for nursing-home level care but wish to remain independent.  

During the last Colorado legislative session, Denver-based InnovAge backed a bill that would let nonprofit PACE providers operate as for-profits — anticipating a parallel change in federal law. InnovAge is Colorado’s largest PACE provider and among the largest nationally. The bill was approved and made effective earlier this year.

In late October, the nonprofit InnovAge filed a plan with the Colorado attorney general to convert to a for-profit company. Officials from InnovAge say conversion is necessary for the company’s growth. But InnovAge’s proposal has raised concerns with advocacy groups, including the Colorado Center on Law and Policy, Colorado Consumer Health Initiative and Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition. Additionally, several public charities — including the Rose Community Foundation, The Colorado Trust and the Colorado Health Foundation — have voiced their concerns through written public comments and testimony at a public hearing in December.

Why are these organizations concerned? In short, the conversion affects thousands of elderly and disabled Coloradans and involves hundreds of millions in community assets.

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