Colorado’s Citizen Legislature – May 2013

Doris BeaverWith the May 9th adjournment day fast approaching, legislators are necessarily picking up the pace down under the gold dome.

Senate Bill 13-225: The Committee on Health and Human Services amended the introduced version of SB 225, striking everything below the enacting clause. SB 225 creates the Statewide STEMI and Stroke Registries Act, and a task force within the Department of Public Health and Environment (DPHE) is required to develop a “system for designating qualified hospitals as STEMI (heart attack) receiving centers, STEMI referring centers, comprehensive strike centers, primary strike centers, and acute strike-ready hospitals.”

The bill also requires that a database be maintained of individuals with confirmed STEMI heart attacks and strokes. The term “STEMI” is defined as “ST-elevation myocardial infarction, a severe heart attack caused by a prolonged period of blocked blood supply that affects a large area of the heart.”

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment will be tasked with accrediting hospitals pursuant to requirements set forth by the American Hospital Association, the American Heart Association, the American Stroke Association, the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations and Programs and the Society for Cardiovascular Patient Care.

SB 225 as amended, was referred to the Committee on Appropriations with favorable recommendation.

Sponsors of Senate Bill 13-225: Senator Angela Giron (D-Pueblo) 866-4878; and Representatives Joann Ginal (D-Larimer) 866-4569, and Diann Primavera (D-Boulder, Broomfield and Weld (866-4667).

Senate Bill 13-209: The personal needs allowance (PNA) for a resident of a nursing facility or an intermediate care facility for individuals with intellectual disabilities (ICF/IID) will increase from $50.00 to $75.00 under SB 209, the first increase since 1999.

Currently in Colorado, approximately 9,585 nursing facility residents receive the PNA which “allows for purchase of clothing and other goods and services not reimbursed by any state or federal program.” There are approximately 164 ICF/IID in Department of Human Services intermediate care facilities eligible for the increased PNA. SB 209 does no apply to veterans which is separately established at $90.00 per month.

Passage and signing by the Governor means the increase in the PNA will no longer be subject to matching federal funds. SB 209 was referred to the Committee on Appropriations with favorable recommendation.

Sponsors of Senate Bill 13-209: Senator Lois Tochtrop (D-Adams) 866-4863. No sponsor as yet in the House of Representatives.

Senate Bill 13-242: Adults in the Medicaid Program will receive dental services if SB 242 passes and is signed by the Governor. Under current law, Colorado provides dental benefits to children 21 years of age and younger in the Early Periodic Screening and Treatment (EPST) program, but adults receive reimbursement for emergency dental services only.

Untreated dental conditions lead to increased use of hospital emergency departments which means more costly care. Current regulations allow access to dental services for conditions related to oral cavities, but not preventative or restorative services.

According to a study by the Pew Center on the States, “preventable dental conditions were the primary diagnosis in 830,590 visits to emergency departments nationwide in 2009” (latest statistics available).

The cost of providing the dental benefit to the list of optional services provided in Medicaid does not come cheap Ð at least $10.4 million in Fiscal Year 2013-14 and $22.0 million in Fiscal Year 2014-15, but the benefit to this segment of the population is priceless.

After amendment to the Appropriations section of the bill, SB 242 was referred to the Committee on the Whole with favorable recommendation.

Sponsors of Senate Bill 13-242: Senator Jeanne Nicholson (D-Boulder, Denver, Gilpin and Jefferson) 866-4873; and Representative Dianne Primavera (D-Boulder, Broomfield and Weld) 866-4667.

Senate Bill 13-004: Applicants for state-issued identification cards who are over the age of 65 will be able to renew online or by mail every renewal period if SB 004 becomes law. Under current law, online renewals were allowed only for every other renewal period.

SB 004 requires that an applicant must attest to being lawfully present in the United States, and to being a Colorado resident. Current fees are waived for identification cards for those over 60 years of age. The bill was referred favorably to the Committee on Appropriations.

Sponsors of Senate Bill 004: Senator John Kefalas (D-Larimer) 866-4841; and Representative Joann Ginal (D-Larimer) 866-4569

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