Colorado’s Citizen Legislature – July 2016

~ By Doris Beaver ~

The process of posting Governor Hickenlooper’s action on legislation passed during the legislative session took place a little differently in 2016. Today’s column presents the action on the remaining bills written about this session in Prime Time for Seniors.

Senate Bill 16-026 was signed by the Governor on May 5th. The bill concerned the personal rights of protected persons and limiting the ability of a guardian or conservator to isolate a protected person. A protected person is defined as a “minor or other individual such as an incapacitated adult for whom a guardian or conservator has been appointed because the protected person is unable to effectively evaluate information, make decisions or communicate on their own behalf.”

The issue of protected persons is probably one of if not the most complicated and emotional issues facing the family of such persons. The legislation was complicated and provides for a court to “maximize the protection of the personal rights of each protected person.”

House Bill 16-1195 was signed by the Governor on April 29th, and modifies services available for a person with physical impairments. HB 1195 removes the restriction on availability of home modifications, and replaces it with “home installations or adaptions, related to any disability that allows an eligible person to remain in the home,” all subject to federal authorization. Also significant is HB 1195 provides for persons with major mental illnesses are now eligible for home modification services.

Senate Bill 16-120 was signed by the Governor on June 8th, and is further expansion of efforts for current quality control processes by the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing. Implementation is to primarily target high-cost procedures with greater potential for fraud or improper billing. Provisions in the bill include an explanation of benefits being sent to a Medicaid client receiving those high-cost procedures, including the name of the client receiving services, the name of the service provider, a description of the service provided, the billing code for the service and the date of the service.

House Bill 16-1380 adds in-home support services as an allowable service for persons receiving Medicaid home- and community-based services to the Brain Injury waiver program and the Community Mental Health Supports waiver program, subject to federal authorizations. The program allows persons with disabilities who require an institutional level of care to receive services in their homes rather than be forced to enter a nursing home. HB 1380 was signed by the Governor on May 5th.

Senate Bill 16-162 changes the procedure for payment of remaining costs after payment by Medicaid, Medicare or a private insurer if the services are eligible for reimbursement under Medicaid. SB 162 provides that remaining costs will be paid by Medicaid only if the services are rendered by a Medicaid provider, with the Medicaid recipient allowed to elect to receive and pay for services from a medical provider that is not enrolled in Medicaid. SB 162 was signed by the Governor on May 4th.

Senate Bill 16-170 was signed by the Governor on May 5th, and authorizes that the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing to purchase individual insurance on Connect for Health Colorado for an individual who is eligible for Medicaid but who chooses not to receive Medicaid, if the individual’s enrollment in private health insurance will save the state money.

Current law does not allow individuals eligible for Medicaid to purchase subsidized health insurance via Connect for Health Colorado.

Doris Beaver is a freelance journalist who writes from her home high in the Colorado Rocky Mountains on senior issues, politics, ethics and environmental issues. Visit her website www.dorisbeaver.com, or e-mail her at doris@dorisbeaver.com.