Colorado’s Citizen Legislature – April, 2021
HOUSE BILL 21-1172:
HB 1172 concerns a subject that’s a real sore point for people who have loved ones in health-care facilities. The pandemic prevented this writer from seeing/visiting her Mother for the last nine months of her life last year. It is a gut-wrenching good-bye with no closure.
The bill is long and complicated, but reading the introduced copy of the bill provides an outline to eliminate many of the stumbling blocks visitors faced. The short title of HB 1172 is “No Patient or Resident Left Alone Act.”
Hospital patient visitation rights are specified in Colorado’s Statutes, 42 CFR 482.13 (h), which provide many limitations that a visitor must comply with. Examples: a compassionate care visit to alleviate the patient’s or resident’s physical or mental distress; a visitor or support person designated pursuant to subsection (2)(b) of this section for a patient or resident with a disability.
Perhaps the most significant point in the bill is Subsection (3) (c) which prohibits a health-care facility from adopting policies or procedures that prohibit visitation or a patient or resident to reduce the risk of transmission of a pandemic disease.
Readers beware, the bill is long and complicated, but was introduced at a propitious time with the pandemic still on-going and scandals nationwide.
Sponsors of House Bill 21-1172: Representative Tim Geitner, R-El Paso, 866-2924; Senators Jim Smallwood, R-Douglas, 866-4869, and Joanne Ginal, D-Larimer, 866-4841.
House Bill 21-1123:
HB 1123 concerns a Colorado Adult Protective Services (CAPS) check for regulated professionals with substantiated cases of mistreatment of an at-risk adult. The bill requires that prospective conservators or guardians to an at-risk adult have the CAPS check, The bill requires courts to request a CAPS data system checks from the DHS before a court appoints a conservator or guardian to an at-risk adult, and must respond within seven calendar days if there is a substantiated finding.
There is an information sharing requirement in the bill between the Department of Human Services, county departments of human services, and the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) if a regulated professional is found to have a substantiated case of mistreatment of an at-risk adult in the course of their professional duties.
HB 1123 changed the element of the existing offenses of requesting a CAPS check by an authorized person and providing false information to include prospective conservators and guardians. The legislative council staff analysis states the bill is not expected to have a tangible impact on criminal justice-related revenue or expenditures at the state or local levels.
Sponsors of House Bill 21-1123: Representatives Dafna Michaelson Jenet; D-Adams, 866-2945, and Collin Larson, R-Jefferson, 866-2927; and Senators Rhonda Fields, D-Arapahoe, 866-4870, and Jim Smallwood, R-Douglas, 866-4869.
House Bill 21-1119:
HB 1119 concerns lowering the suicide rate by enhancing care for persons affected by suicide, and broadening Colorado’s focus to include suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention.
The statistics provided by the General Assembly in the legislative declaration include these:
• People who have known someone who died by suicide in the last year 1.6 times are likely to have suicidal thoughts; 2.9 times more likely to have a plan for suicide themselves; and 3.7 times more likely to have attempted suicide themselves.
• More peace officers die of suicide than in the line of duty.
• An estimated three hundred to four hundred doctors die of suicide annually, a rate of twenty-eight to forty per one hundred thousand which is more than double that of the general population.
• Suicide is a leading cause of death for school-aged children in Colorado. After learning about suicide of a schoolmate, children are just as susceptible as adults to attempt suicide, which is why they need care to help them cope with the after-effects of suicide.
• Children are at risk by just knowing about a friend’s or schoolmate’s attempt, and adolescents who know about a friend’s suicide, attempts are nearly twice as likely to attempt suicide themselves one years later.
• Suicide risk is at its highest in the first week after discharge from an in patient setting. The risk is one hundred and two times higher in men and two hundred and forty-six times higher in women than in their counterparts in the general population.
HB 1119 makes a number of changes and updates the duties of the office and commission to include intervention and postvention services. The dire statistics in the legislative declaration demonstrate the need for the many updates and changes.
Sponsors of House Bill 21-1119: Representative Janice Rich, R-Mesa, 866-3068, and Lindsey Daugerty, D-Jefferson, 866-2950; and Senator Donovan, D-Chafee, Delta, Eagle, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Lake, Pitkin, 866-4871.
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, and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.. Visit her website www.dorisbeaver.com, or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.