Colorado’s Citizen Legislature – July 2017

~ By Doris Beaver ~

House Bill 17-1116:
The limit on continued conditional funding for energy related assistance to low-income households from the severance tax operational fund has been removed, and will now be eligible for conditional funding indefinitely. Low-income households, and yes, far too many Seniors will be able to breath a sigh of relief as winter approaches. HB 1116 was signed by the Governor on June 6th.

House Bill 17-1139:
HB 1139 was signed by the Governor on June 6th, and provides for two significant provisions for monetary penalty if a provider improperly bills or seeks collection from a Medicaid recipient or their estate. The Department of Health Care and Policy and Financing will now require a corrective action plan from any provider where substantial non-compliance or quality issues are identified, and allow for temporary suspension of a provider’s enrollment in the Colorado Medicaid program for a defined period of time.

Senate Bill 17-121:
Meant to improve, create, and test communications to Medicaid clients, and ensure that communications with clients are accurate, readable, understandable and consistent, HB 121 was signed by the Governor on June 2nd. When a denial, reduction, suspension or termination of benefits is communicated to a Medicaid client, the communication must include an understandable explanation of denial, reduction, suspension or termination, detailed information on the client’s household composition and income sources and a specific description of any information or documents needed from the client.

House Bill 17-1253:
Created by this piece of legislation is the “Protection of Vulnerable Adults From Financial Exploitation Act,” which was signed by the Governor on June 2nd. Among the provisions in the legislation is the requirement that the Commissioner and the Colorado Division of Securities be made aware of the exploitation at the time it occurs, mandatory reporting is required by persons licensed by the Division of Securities as early as possible, when intervention may be able to prevent harm or limit the damage to victims of financial exploitation, and a mandatory reasonable-belief reporting requirement, coupled with immunity for reporting, providing an appropriate balance of incentives to encourage licensed securities professionals to report potential financial exploitation.

House Bill 17-1222:
The Easter Seals of Colorado becomes a voluntary contribution designation (income tax checkoff) with the signing of HB 1222 by the Governor on June 5th. The General Assembly’s intent is to provide Colorado citizens the opportunity to support the efforts of Easter Seals Colorado, and “support services for individuals living with chronic health care needs and family caregivers by allowing citizens to make voluntary contributions on their state income tax return forms for that purpose.”

House Bill 1264:
This legislation adds to the State Ombudsman’s office the local Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE). The program is available to persons age 55 or older who are enrolled in Medicare or Medicaid and deemed eligible for nursing facility care by a Single Entry Point (SEP) agency. The benefits are substantial – health and service benefits include primary and hospital care, prescription drugs, emergency services, physical therapy, home care, meals, dentistry, nutritional counseling, social services and transportation, among others. Once enrolled, if a client requires nursing facility care, the PACE program will also pay for those costs.

House Bill 17-1284:
Signed by the Governor on May 31st, HB 1284 is an additional step in Colorado’s on-going efforts to protect Colorado’s most vulnerable at-risk adults “who because of age or mental or physical ability are unable to obtain services or otherwise protect their own health, safety and welfare.” Colorado employers required to conduct a records check of the Colorado adults protective services data system is lengthy but necessary to determine if a prospective employee who will work directly with at-risk adults is the subject of a substantial report of adult abuse or neglect; for example, county adult protective service departments, health care facilities licensed by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, adult day care facilities, community-centered boards and other contracted agencies, service persons on Medicaid home- and community-based service waiver programs, and veterans community living centers.

Doris Beaver

Doris Beaver

Doris Beaver is a free lance 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.