Colorado’s Citizen Legislature – May 2016

The second regular session of the Seventieth Colorado General Assembly is in the home stretch with adjournment scheduled for May 11th.

In the for what it’s worth department, legislators were not feeling generous when House Bill 16-1065 was considered by the House Committee on Health Insurance and Environment. Postponed indefinitely, HB 1065 would have created an income tax credit for taxpayers aged 75 and older of up to $3,000 per year for certain out-of pocket health care costs to assist a qualifying senior seeking health care in his or her home. Look for a similar bill to visit again next session.

House Bill 16-1394: In 2015, Senate Bill 15-109 created a task force within the Colorado Department of Human Services for studying and preparing recommendations for mandatory reporting of mistreatment, abuse, neglect, or exploitation of at-risk adults including intellectual and developmental disabilities in Colorado.

The legislative declaration states that “fear of mistreatment is one of the major personal concerns of at-risk persons and at-risk persons are more vulnerable to and disproportionately damaged by crime in general but, more specifically by abuse, exploitation and neglect because they are less able to protect themselves against offenders, a number of whom are in positions of trust, and because they are more likely to receive serious injury from crimes committed against them and not to fully recover from such injury.”

The general assembly also found that “penalties for specified crimes committed against at-risk persons should be more severe than the penalties for the commission of the same crimes against other members of society.”

HB 1394 underwent minor amendment by the Committee on Health, Insurance and Environment, but modifies the previous provisions as to bank and financial service personnel – said personnel must report mistreatment of an at-risk adult with IDD or elder person if it is directly observed.
“At-risk person” is defined as an at-risk adult, an at-risk adult with IDD, an at-risk elder or an at-risk juvenile.
“At-risk adult with IDD” is defined as a person who is eighteen years of age or older and is a person with an intellectual and developmental disability, pursuant to Section 25.5-10-202(26)(a) of the Colorado Revised Statutes.

HB 1394 has among its many other provisions applying to at-risk persons:

  • standardizes statutory definitions related to and mistreatment of at-risk persons;
  • expands penalties that can be imposed by the court on a person convicted of mistreatment, to include the payment of treatment costs and restitution;
    adds new mandatory reporters who are required to report mistreatment;
  • adds professional encouraged to report mistreatment;
  • reduces time local law enforcement agencies or county departments must prepare a report ON at-risk persons mistreatment from 48 to 24 hours;
  • clarifies that if a county determines an investigation into the mistreatment is needed, the county department of human services or social services must conduct the investigation; and
  • clarifies that the human rights committee is responsible for ensuring that an investigation occurs for mistreatment of an adult with IDD receiving services through the Office of Community Living in the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing.

Sponsors of House Bill 16-1394: Representative Dave Young (D-Weld) 866-2929; and Senator Kevin Grantham (R-Clear Creek, El Paso, Fremont, Park, Teller) 866-4877.

House Bill 16-1380: Home- and community-based services waiver programs under Medicaid allow persons with disabilities who require an institutional level of care to receive services in their homes and in the community rather than in nursing facilities or other institutions. The bill was passed by the Public Health Care and Human Services Committee and favorably referred to the Committee on Appropriations.

HB 1380 adds in-home support services as an allowable service for persons receiving Medicaid home- and community-based services through the Brain Injury waiver program and the Community Mental Health Supports waiver program, subject to federal authorization.

Sponsor of House Bill 15-1380: Representative Dave Young (D-Weld) 866-2929. No sponsor as yet on the Senate.

Senate Bill 16-162: Current law as to payment for remaining costs after payment by Medicaid, Medicare or a private insurer if the services are eligible for reimbursement under Medicaid will be changed under SB 162. Medicaid recipients will not be responsible for any remaining costs only if the services are rendered by a Medicaid provider. However, a Medicaid recipient may elect under the bill to receive and pay for services from a medical provider that is not enrolled in Medicaid. SB 162 was passed by the full Senate on April 26th and awaits action by the House of Representatives.
Sponsors of Senate Bill 16-162: Senator Jack Tate (R-Arapahoe) 866-4883; and Representatives Jovan Melton (D-Arapahoe) 866-2919, and Lang Sias (R-Jefferson) 866-2962.

Senate Bill 16-170: Currently individuals eligible for Medicaid cannot purchase subsidized health insurance via Connect for Health Colorado. SB 170 authorizes 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.
Sponsors of Senate Bill 16-170: Senator Jack Tate (R-Arapahoe) 866-4883. No sponsor as yet in the House.

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.

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