Colorado’s Citizen Legislature – May 2017

Even though adjournment day for the 2017 Colorado General Assembly is fast approaching, legislators still have a great deal of work to do with many, many pieces of legislation awaiting their first committee hearing.

House bill 17-1264:
Alternatives to nursing facility care have long-been favored by those providing services to persons age 55 or older. HB 1264 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.
There are requirements to be met but the benefits are quite substantial. A client must live within a PACE provider service area and be able, with supportive services, to live in the community safely, with services typically offered in an adult health center and supplemented with in-home and referral services.
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.
Sponsors of House Bill 17-1264: Representatives Joann Ginal (D-Larimer) (866-4569 and Polly Lawrence (R-Douglas, Teller) 866-2935; and Senators Martinez Humenik (R-Adams) 866-4863 and Cheri Jahn (D-Jefferson) 866-4856.

House Bill 17-1284:
Titled “Protecting At-Risk Adults From Mistreatment by Establishing a Check of the Colorado Adult Protective Services Data System for Persons Employed to Provide Direct Care to Asterisk Adults,” HB 1284 is another step in the on-going effort 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.” (An at-risk adult is any person over the age of 18 who meets this criteria.)
The list of employers required to conduct a records check of the Colorado adults protective services data system 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 is lengthy; 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.
Sponsors of House Bill 17-1284: Representative Susan Lontine (D-Denver) 866-2966; and Senators Irene Aguilar (D-Denver) 866-4852 and Bob Gardner (R-El Paso) 866-4880.

House Bill 17-1353:
The existing Accountable Care Collaborative (ACC) for the Medicaid program in the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF) is an existing Medicaid initiative designed to improve health outcomes, coordinate care and contain costs through the use of patient-centered medical homes, care coordination agencies and data sharing and analysis.
HB 1353 is recommended by the Joint Budget Committee and tasks the ACC with a multitude of responsibilities, some of which are listed below:

1. establish primary care medical homes for Medicaid clients with the ACC;
2. provide regional care coordination and provider network support;
3. provide data to regional entities and providers to help manage client care;
4. integrate the delivery of behavioral health and physical health services;
5. connect primary care with specialty care and non-health community supports; and
6. promote client choice and engagement.

HB 1353 requires that HCPF report to the Joint Budget Committee and the Health and Human Services Committees of the General Assembly by December 1, 2017, and each December thereafter about the ACC, including the number of clients served, performance results and health impacts, administrative fees and programs costs, fiscal performance, activities in rural and frontier counties, waste reduction and various aspects of the ACC.
Sponsors of House Bill 17-1353: Representative Dave Young (D-Weld) 866-2929; and Senator Kevin Lundberg (R-Larimer) 866-4853.

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.