Colorado’s Citizen Legislature – June 2015
~By Doris Beaver ~
Today’s edition will be a brief one as action on legislation is moving a little slow down under the Gold Dome. This year, look for the final action by the Governor on House Bills 15-1018, 15-1033, 15-1100, 15-1233 and Senate Bill 15-123 to appear in a July column.
House Bill 15-1029: Under the law prior to passage of HB 1029, telehealth care was available to persons in counties with 150,000 or fewer residents. That restriction is removed by HB 15-1029 and precludes a health benefit plan from requiring in-person care delivery when telehealth is appropriate.
On or after January 1, 2017, ” a health benefit plan that is issued, amended or renewed in Colorado shall not require in-person contact between a provider and a covered person for services appropriately provided through telehealth subject to all terms and conditions of the health benefit plan.”
The use of telehealth is optional and HB 1029 does not require the use of telehealth when a provider determines that delivery of care through telehealth is not appropriate or when a covered person chooses not to receive care through telehealth.
Subject to all terms and condition of the health benefit plan, reimbursement to providers is the same as for in-person care. Deductibles co-payment, coinsurance and policy-year, calendar-year, lifetime or other durational benefit limitations or maximum benefits or services under the health benefit plan are also the same for telehealth care as in-person care.
With any type of change such as HB 1029 provides, it is always a really good idea to discuss changes with your health care provider to make sure everyone is on the same page. HB 1029 was signed by Governor Hickenlooper on March 20th.
House Bill 15-1242: Care after dismissal from the hospital often makes the difference in whether a patient must be re-admitted for the same issue, especially so in older patients. HB 1242 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.”
The hospital must record designation of a caregiver, relationship to patient and contact information in the patient’s medical record, including the capabilities and limitations of the caregiver, include a discharge plan describing the patient’s aftercare needs, and provide the caregiver with instructions and training concerning the aftercare of the patient.
HB 1242 was signed by the Governor on May 8th.
House Bill 15-1264: Unfortunately, HB 1264 was postponed indefinitely late in the session (on April 28th), and would have established a set of rights by persons experiencing homelessness. Testimony on this bill was emotional and heartbreaking, but in the end, testimony from government agencies was persuasive that the bill was not needed. Look for it to return in another session.
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.