Colorado’s Citizen Legislature – May 2014
As this edition of Prime Time for Seniors goes to print, Colorado’s 2013 legislative will be nearing adjournment – May 7, 2014. This session proved to have some of the most citizen-beneficial legislation and most interesting of any session since this writer began covering the legislature in 2005.
House Bill 14-1357: “Concerning In-Home Service Provided in the Medicaid Program,” HB 1357 was introduced late in the session. The bill makes changes to in-home support services (IHSS) provided by the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF) under various Community-Based Services (HCBS) waiver programs.
Recipients and family members benefit significantly from these changes:
- allowing IHSS to be provided in the home or in the community;
- adding spouses as an eligible family member who may act as an attendant providing IHSS to a HCBS waiver client;
- clarifying the eligible client or his or her authorized representative is responsible for directing the provision of IHSS, including scheduling, managing and supervising the attendant and determining the level of support provided, and giving the ability to determine the amount of nurse oversight needed, if any, in connection with the IHSS provided;
- allowing family members to be reimbursed for providing IHSS and requiring HCPF to establish rules concerning limits on family members reimbursement; and;
- expanding IHSS to persons receiving services through the Spinal Cord Injury waiver pilot program (July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2015) and adding IHSS to the list of services under the Elderly, Blind and Disabled waiver program.
The range of services for persons with disabilities include “health maintenance, housed assistance and personal care service that allow clients to remain in their homes rather than nursing care and other types of facilities.” The Spinal Cord injury waiver pilot program allows up to 67 percent of clients to access alternative therapies such as acupuncture, chiropractic care and massage in addition to other HCBS waiver services.
With minor adjustment to the general fund appropriation, HB 1357 was referred to the Committee of the Whole with favorable recommendation, then passed by the full House 48-14, 1 excused.
Sponsors of House Bill 14-1357: Representative Dave Young (D-Weld) 866-2929; and Senator Irene Aguilar (D-Denver) 866-4852
House Bill 14-1211: “Concerning Ensuring Access to Quality Complex Rehabilitation Technology in the Medicaid Program”: the legislative declaration of HB 1211includes this reason as need for the bill: “. . . provides support for complex needs patients to stay in the home or community setting, prevent institutionalization and to prevent hospitalization and other costly secondary complications.”
HB 1211 requires the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF) to “recognize complex rehabilitation technology (CRT) as a unique category of services under Medicaid.”
CRT is defined in the bill as “durable medical equipment that is individually configured for complex needs patients to meet their specific medical, physical and functional needs and capabilities for daily living.”
HB 1211 was passed by the full House on April 9th, 49-15, 1 excused, and now goes to the Senate for consideration.
Sponsors of House Bill 14-1211: Representative Dave Young (D-Weld) 866-2929;and Senator is Tochtrop (D-Adams) 866-4863.
Senate Bill 14-118: After languishing till somewhat late in the session, SB 118 was passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee and referred to the Committee of the Whole on April 21st. The premise of the bill is straightforward and conforms several definitions related to discrimination based on a disability (discrimination) to federal”Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990, including changing the term “assistance dog” to “service animal.”
The penalty for discrimination in places of public accommodations, housing and/or violations of the rights of an individual with a disability is increased from $500.00 to actual monetary damages or a statutory fine up to $3,500.00, plus attorney fees and costs. Penalties are increased to treble the amount of actual damages for harm in a willful or wanton manner by a person or another animal.
Sponsors of Senate Bill 14-118: Senator Pat Steadman (D-Arapahoe, Denver) 866-48611; and Representative Jovan Melton (D-Arapahoe) 866-2919.
Doris is a freelance 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.