Colorado’s Citizen Legislature – Mar. 2022
By Doris Beaver ~
House Bill 22-1114:
HB 22-1114 authorizes a transportation network company to “provide non-medical transportation services to persons who are enrolled in certain medicaid waiver programs.
The General Assembly declares, ‘it is imperative that Colorado allow for flexibility and growth in available transportation options for adults with disabilities at comparable costs and funded as an alternative to mass transportation in a way that maintains safety and fosters community living and independence for adults with disabilities.”
The legislative declaration includes additional points:
- Adults with disabilities deserve an opportunity to live, work, and perform everyday activities in a community of their choice, at the time of their choosing, wherever and whenever possible.
- Coloradans with disabilities are unemployed and underemployed at a higher rate than the general population and often live in relative isolation due to myriad barriers and disincentives despite their interest and eagerness to work and engage in the community.
- Colorado is an Employment First state committed to addressing barriers and disincentives to employment to ensure that all Coloradans can access meaningful, competitive integrated employment.
- Traditional methods of transportation outlined in the waivers are often inefficient and overburdened.
- For the past decade, Colorado, following national trends, has experienced a shortage in direct service providers, including transportation service providers.
The fiscal impact analysis by the Legislative Council Staff states HB 1114 authorizes a transportation net-work company to provide non-medical transportation services to persons enrolled in the following Medicaid waiver programs:
- the Brain Injury Waiver (BI);
- the Developmental Disabilities Waiver (DD);
- the Elderly, Blind and Disabled Waiver (EBD);
- the Community Mental Health Supports Waiver (CMHS); and
- the Spinal Cord Injury Waiver (SCI).
The background data in the fiscal impact analysis points out, “non-medical transportation (NMT) and non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) are required Medicaid benefits available in all six adult waiver programs, including BI, DD, EBD, CMHS, SCI, and the Supported Living Services Waiver (SLS).
Each of the Medicaid waiver programs must submit their report to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, the House of Representatives Public and Behavioral Health and Human Services Committee, and the House of Representatives Health and Insurance Committee, or any successor committees, as part of its “State Measurement for Accountable, Responsive, and Transparent (SMART) Government Act’” with certain requirements set forth that the report must meet regarding the implementation of its duties.
HB 1114 provides for addition to the Colorado Revised Statutes as follows:
- Section 2 of the Colorado Revised Statutes, 25.5-6-307: elderly, blind and disabled – rules;
- Section 4 of the Colorado Revised Statutes, 25.5-6-606: persons with mental health disorders authorized – federal waiver – duties of the department of health care policy and financing and the department of human services – rules;
- Section 5 of the Colorado Revised Statutes, 25.5-6-704: implementation of home- and community-based services program for persons with brain injury authorized – federal waiver – duties of the department – rules;
- Section 6 of the Colorado Revised Statutes, 25.5-6-1303: pilot program – complimentary or alternative medicine – rules.
HB 22-1114 is yet to have its first committee hearing. It is encouraging to see the emphasis written into each Section in the bill for accountability and specificity – January 2024 for submission of the report on State Measurement for Accountable, Response, and Transparent (SMART) Government Act, as required by Section 2-7-203 in the Colorado Revised Statutes. The state department is to engage in a stakeholder process that includes individuals within each of the above Medicaid programs – 3, 4, 5 and 6 – and transportation network companies.
Sponsors of House Bill 22-1114: Senators Colin Larson, R-Jefferson, 866-2927, and Alex Valdez, D-Denver, 866-2925.
Doris Beaver is a freelance 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 email@example.com.