Colorado’s Citizen Legislature – April 2015
~ By Doris Beaver ~
A bill that would have provided help for those trying to pay for expenses related to health care and enabled them to stay in their homes was postponed indefinitely by the House Committee on Finance on March 11th. The bill, House Bill 5-1143, titled “Concerning A Tax Incentive For Home Health Care,” included in the General Assembly’s declaration that the purpose of the tax expenditure was “to make it more affordable for qualifying Seniors with an illness, injury, or other condition to be able to seek health care in their homes.”
Amended HB 1143 provided a “state income tax credit of up to $3,000 per year for out-of-pocket costs for durable medical equipment, telehealth equipment, home modifications, or home health care services incurred by a taxpayer who is 75 years of age or older.”
The vote to postpone indefinitely (killed) by the House Committee on Finance was a party line vote of 6-5.
House Bill 14-1233: “Concerning the Creation of the Respite Care Task Force,” HB 1233 creates a task force within the Department of Human Resources to study the dynamics of the supply and demand of respite services in Colorado, including:
- access to respite care services;
- types of services that are most in demand and the services that are currently available;
- the number of respite caregivers in the state and locations;
- strategies to increase the number of respite caregivers in the state;
- the funding of respite care services; and
- other respite care issues as deemed appropriate.
The legislative declaration by the General Assembly includes these critical factors as the necessity for such a bill:
- The current demand for respite care is unknown, although it is apparent that there is a lack of adequate respite care facilities and respite care programs in Colorado;
- It is important that caregivers are able to trust and depend on the individuals providing respite care to their loved ones;
- Reliable access to affordable respite care will be beneficial to caregivers and to their families and loves ones; and
- Caregivers work twenty-four hours per day, seven days per week to ensure their loved ones have the support and tools they need to live their best lives.
A report is due from the task force to the General Assembly by December 1, 2015.
Lead Sponsors of 15-1233:Representative Lois Landgraf (R-El Paso) 866-2946; and Senator Irene Aguilar (D-Denver) 866-4852.
House Bill 15-1242: Aftercare for Seniors discharged from hospitals can mean less re-admissions, yet many go home without anyone to help in those first few days. While HB 1242 does not specifically apply to just Seniors, that segment of the population is likely to benefit the most.
Provisions in HB 1242 require that “general hospitals in Colorado give each patient or the patient’s legal guardian the option to designate at least one caregiver within 24 hours of the patient’s admission to the hospital and prior to the patient’s release from the hospital or transfer to another facility.”
Additional requirements imposed on hospitals by HB 1242 include:
- record designation of a caregiver, relationship to patient, and contact information in the patient’s medical record;
- consultation with the patient regarding the capabilities and limitations of the caregiver;
- provide a discharge plan to the patient describing the patient’s aftercare needs; and
- provide the caregiver with instructions and training concerning the aftercare of the patient.
The fiscal impact analysis points out that the Health Facilities Division with the Department of Public Health and Environment licenses hospitals in the state and may need to communicate the changes with hospital systems.
HB 1242 (as amended) passed its third reading before the full House by a vote of 64 for, 3 against and 2 excused on March 25th.
Sponsors of House Bill 15-1242: Representative Jessie Danielson (D-Jefferson) 866-5522; and Senator Irene Aguilar (D-Arapahoe) 866-4852.
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 email@example.com.