Colorado’s Citizen Legislature – July 2015
Today’s edition presents Governor Hickenlooper’s action on the remaining legislation covered during the 2015 Colorado legislative session.
House Bill 151018: Postponed indefinitely (killed) on April 21st, HB 1018 would have expanded the list of professional persons (mandatory reporters) required to report within 24 hours the abuse or exploitation of a person 70 years of age or older to include a caretaker, staff member, employee or consultant for a licensed or certified care facility, agency, home or governing board, including but not limited to home health providers, certified public accountants, victim advocates associated with law enforcement agencies, insurance agencies, postal workers and employees or contractors of a bus company who picked up an individual at home or another specific location other than a designated route.
House Bill 151100: Postponed indefinitely on April 28th, HB 1100 would have increased the amount of net revenue from the state sales and use tax that is credited to the older Coloradans Cash Fund by $4 million, effective July 1, 2015. Current law provides that “85% of state sales and use taxes are allocated to the Old Age Pension Fund and 15% percent to the General Fund, except that $10 million is diverted to the Older Coloradans Cash Fund.”
Senate Bill 15123: “Deemed lost” on February 20th, after second reading – second reading debates while typically rather informal, they are also a time during which critical arguments and votes are made. This is a time of what can only be described by “changing your mind” on a whim almost. Also at play is whether, depending on the point in time, the vote is being recored. There are also times when a bill gets through fairly easy in one house or the other, but then opponents pay much closer attention to what the contents and implications are, and pull out all the stops in the second chamber to kill it. Note, this is NOT the only possibility for a bill being deemed lost – it is a time of real jockying back and forth, so make no assumptions when you see a bill identified as “deemed lost.”
SB 123 would have allowed an individual covered by a health insurance plan to fill a prescription for a specialty drug or biological produt at a network pharmacy of his or her choice if proper notice is filed with the insurance carrier or the pharmacy benefit manager (PBM).
House Bill 151233: Signed by Governor Hickenlooper on May 29th, 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. A report is due to the General Assembly by December 1, 2015.
House Bill 151242: Also signed by Governor Hickenlooper on May 29th, requires 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.”
Aftercare for Seniors discharged from hospitals can mean less readmissions, yet many go home without anyone to help in those first few days, the most difficult time for an elderly patient after an illness or accident.
House Bill 151033: Signed by the Governor on June 4th, HB 1033 requires study of issues related to the increasing number of Coloradans age 50 and older, and requires that a comprehensive data and specific recommendations action plan on aging be developed for Colorado through the year 2030. Such a comprehensive strategic action plan on aging will be beneficial to all Colorado citizens, not just those over the age of 50, with a report due to the Governor and the General Assembly by November 2, 2016, and updates in 2018 and 2020.
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.