Alliance Action Alerts

 

What happens at the Capitol can have a big impact on the lives of people receiving IDD services in Colorado and on the agencies that support them. Get involved and make your voice heard on issues that are important to you by contacting your legislator about some of the legislation below. 

Alliance's Government Relations Committee meets weekly during session to analyze and take positions on bills. Contact Emma Hudson, Alliance's Director of Government and Community Relations, for more information.

 

Alliance Supports HB-19-1004 (Roberts and Catlin / Donavan)

Proposal For Affordable Health Coverage Option

The bill requires the department of health care policy and financing and the division of insurance in the department of regulatory agencies (departments) to develop and submit a proposal (proposal) to certain committees of the general assembly concerning the design, costs, benefits, and implementation of a state option for health care coverage. Additionally, the departments shall present a summary of the proposal at the annual joint hearings with the legislative committees of reference during the interim before the 2020 legislative session.

The proposal must contain a detailed analysis of a state option and must identify the most effective implementation of a state option based on affordability to consumers at different income levels, administrative and financial burden to the state, ease of implementation, and likelihood of success in meeting the objectives described in the bill. The proposal must also identify any necessary changes to state law to implement the proposal.

In developing the proposal, the departments shall engage in a stakeholder process that includes public and private health insurance experts, consumers, consumer advocates, employers, providers, and carriers. Further, the departments shall review any information relating to a pilot program operated by the state personnel director as a result of legislation that may be enacted during the 2019 legislative session.

The departments shall prepare and submit any necessary federal waivers or state plan amendments to implement the proposal, unless a bill is filed within the filing deadlines for the 2020 legislative session that substantially alters the federal authorization required for the proposal and the bill is not postponed indefinitely in the first committee.

Alliance Supports HB19-1045 (Snyder)

Office Of Public Guardianship Operation Conditions

Current law requires the public guardianship commission (commission) to appoint a director for the office of public guardianship (office) to establish and administer the office within one month after the public guardianship cash fund (cash fund) has received $1,700,000 in gifts, grants, and donations. The director is required to administer the office in 3 specified judicial districts within 5 months after the cash fund reaches the same threshold.

The bill removes the condition that the commission and director wait to carry out certain duties until the cash fund has received the specified amount of gifts, grants, and donations.

Alliance Supports HB19-1063 (Kraft-Tharp and Larson/ Gardner and Lee)

At-risk Information Sharing Between County Departments

The bill allows adult protective services (APS) to access child abuse or neglect records and reports when the information is necessary for APS to adequately assess the safety, risk, or provision of services for an at-risk adult.

The bill prohibits a substantiated perpetrator from receiving any identifying information about the person who made a report of the mistreatment or self-neglect of an at-risk adult.

The bill allows any person named as an at-risk adult in a report, or the person's guardian or guardian ad litem, to access the report without a court order. The disclosure must not include any identifying information about the person who made the report. The bill requires a court order if the substantiated perpetrator is the guardian of the at-risk adult.

The bill allows child protective services (CPS) to access information about mistreatment or self-neglect of an at-risk adult, without a court order, when the information is necessary for CPS to adequately assess the safety, risk, or provision of services for a child.

The bill limits the disclosure of information shared from APS and CPS to information regarding prior or current referrals, assessments, investigations, or related case information involving an at-risk adult and an alleged perpetrator.

Alliance Supports HB19-1223 (D. Michaelson Jenet | C. Larson / F. Winter)

Social Security Disability Application Assistance

The bill creates a program to help persons with disabilities participating in the state aid to the needy disabled program navigate the application process for federal disability benefits, including supplemental security income and social security disability insurance. The program is provided by participating county or district departments of human or social services (county departments) and is administered by the state department of human services (state department).

Funding for the program is distributed to participating county departments pursuant to an allocation formula determined by state department rules after the state department receives input from counties, county representatives, and other relevant stakeholders.

The bill includes the services that may be provided by county departments participating in the program. The services may include assistance with compiling and drafting supporting documentation for the application for federal disability benefits and in completing and submitting the application.

The state department shall evaluate the program pursuant to the time frame set forth in the bill to determine if the program is meeting the program goals described in the bill.

The bill creates the disability benefits application assistance fund (fund) and requires the state treasurer and controller to annually transfer to the fund money appropriated for the aid to the needy disabled program that remains unencumbered and unexpended at the end of the fiscal year.

Alliance Supports HB19-1269 (L. Cutter | T. Sullivan / J. Ginal | B. Gardner)

Mental Health Parity Insurance Medicaid

cal assistance program (medicaid).

With regard to health insurance, the bill:

 

  • Specifies that mandatory insurance coverage for behavioral, mental health, and substance use disorders includes coverage for the prevention of, screening for, and treatment of those disorders and must comply with the federal "Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008" (MHPAEA) ( section 3 of the bill);

  • Requires coverage for services for behavioral, mental health, and substance use disorders to continue while a claim for the coverage is under review until the carrier notifies the covered person of the claim determination ( section 3 );

  • Requires carriers to comply with treatment limitation requirements specified in federal regulations and precludes carriers from applying treatment limitations to behavioral, mental health, and substance use disorder services that do not apply to medical and surgical benefits ( section 3 );

  • Requires carriers to provide an adequate network of providers that are able to provide behavioral, mental health, and substance use disorder services and to establish procedures to authorize treatment by nonparticipating providers when a participating provider is not available under network adequacy requirements ( section 3 );

  • Modifies the definition of "behavioral, mental health, and substance use disorder" to include diagnostic categories listed in the mental disorders section of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or the Diagnostic Classification of Mental Health and Developmental Disorders of Infancy and Early Childhood ( section 3 );

  • Updates the required coverage related to alcohol use and behavioral health screenings to reflect the current requirements of that coverage as specified in recommendations of the United States preventive services task force ( section 3 );

  • Requires the commissioner of insurance (commissioner) to disallow a carrier's requested rate increase for failure to demonstrate compliance with the MHPAEA ( section 5 );

  • For purposes of denials of requests for reimbursement for behavioral, mental health, or substance use disorder services, requires carriers to include specified information about the protections included in the MHPAEA, how to contact the division of insurance or the office of the ombudsman for behavioral health access to care (office) related to possible violations of the MHPAEA, and the right to request medical necessity criteria ( section 6 );

  • For health benefit plans issued or renewed on or after January 1, 2020, requires carriers that provide coverage for an annual physical examination as a preventive health care service to also cover an annual mental wellness checkup to the same extent the physical examination is covered ( section 8 );

  • Requires carriers to submit an annual parity report to the commissioner ( section 9 ); and

  • Starting January 1, 2020, requires carriers that provide prescription drug benefits for the treatment of substance use disorders to provide coverage of any FDA-approved prescription medication for treating substance use disorders without prior authorization or step therapy requirements and to place all covered substance use disorder prescription medications on the lowest tier of the drug formulary, and precludes those carriers from excluding coverage for those medications and related services solely on the grounds that they were court ordered ( section 10 ).

With regard to medicaid, the bill:

 

  • Requires the department of health care policy and financing (department) to ensure that medicaid covers behavioral, mental health, and substance use disorder services to the extent that medicaid covers a physical illness and complies with the MHPAEA ( section 11 );

  • Requires the statewide system of community behavioral health care in the managed care system to require managed care entities (MCEs) to provide an adequate network of providers of behavioral, mental health, and substance use disorder services and to prohibit MCEs from denying payment for medically necessary and covered treatment for a covered behavioral health disorder diagnosis or a covered substance use disorder on the basis that the covered diagnosis is not primary ( section 12 );

  • Requires the department to make MCE annual network adequacy plans public and to examine complaints from the office regarding compliance with the requirements of the bill or the MHPAEA ( section 12 );

  • Requires MCEs to include specified statements regarding the applicability of the MHPAEA to the managed care system in medicaid and how to contact the office regarding possible violations of the MHPAEA ( section 14 );

  • Requires MCEs to submit specified data to the department regarding behavioral health services utilization by groups that experience health disparities, denial rates for behavioral health services requiring prior authorization, and behavioral health provider directories ( section 15 );

  • Requires the department to submit an annual parity report to the specified committees of the general assembly ( section 15 ); and

  • Starting January 1, 2020, requires an MCE that provides prescription drug benefits for the treatment of substance use disorders to provide coverage of any FDA-approved prescription medication for treating substance use disorders without prior authorization or step therapy requirements and precludes those MCEs from excluding coverage for those medications and related services solely on the grounds that they were court ordered ( section 16 ).
    (Note: This summary applies to this bill as introduced.)

Alliance Supports HB19-172 (J. Danielson | J. Ginal / J. Singer)

Protect From Unlawful Abandonment And Confinement

The bill makes it a crime to unlawfully abandon or unlawfully confine an at-risk person. The purposeful desertion of an at-risk person in a manner that endangers the safety of that person constitutes unlawful abandonment. Tying, locking up, caging, chaining, or otherwise unreasonably restricting an at-risk person's freedom of movement constitutes unlawful confinement.

The bill reclassifies the at-risk adult crimes that are class 1 misdemeanors into class 6 felonies and makes unlawful abandonment and unlawful confinement class 6 felonies.

Alliance is Neutral on SB19-188 (F. Winter | A. Williams / M. Gray | M. Duran)

FAMLI Family Medical Leave Insurance Program

The bill creates the family and medical leave insurance (FAMLI) program and the division of family and medical leave insurance (division) in the department of labor and employment to provide partial wage replacement benefits to an eligible individual who takes leave from work:

 

  • To care for a new child or a family member with a serious health condition;

  • Because the eligible individual is unable to work due to the individual's own serious health condition or because the individual or a family member is the victim of abusive behavior; or

  • Due to certain needs arising from a family member's active duty service.

Each employee and employer in the state will pay one-half the cost of a premium as specified in the bill, which premium is based on a percentage of the employee's yearly wages. The premiums are deposited into the family and medical leave insurance fund, and family and medical leave benefits are paid to eligible individuals from the fund. The division is established as an enterprise, and premiums paid into the fund are not considered state revenues for purposes of the taxpayer's bill of rights (TABOR).

Alliance Supports SB19-202 (J. Danielson | R. Zenzinger)

Voting Rights For Voters With Disabilities

The bill requires the secretary of state is to establish procedures to enable voters with disabilities to independently mark a paper ballot using nonvisual access or low vision access technology whether the voter is voting in a mail ballot election or voting at a polling location.

Alliance Supports SB18-207 (D. Moreno / D. Esgar)

FY 2019-20 Long Bill

The State Budget Bill. This budget adds 150 new DD Comp resources and a 1% provider rate increase.

Alliance Supports SB19-215 (R. Rodriguez / S. Lontine)

Parents Encouraging Parents Conference

The bill creates parents encouraging parents conferences for parents of children with disabilities who are enrolled in public schools in Colorado. The department of education shall provide for the conferences and related lodging and food for attendees. The bill requires a specified conference curriculum.

Alliance Supports SB19-222 (P. Lee | T. Story / D. Esgar | L. Landgraf)

Individuals At Risk Of Institutionalization

The bill requires the department of health care policy and financing (state department) to develop measurable outcomes to monitor efforts to prevent medicaid recipients from becoming involved in the criminal justice system.

The bill requires the state department to work collaboratively with managed care entities to create incentives for behavioral health providers to accept medicaid recipients with severe behavioral health disorders. The bill requires the state department to determine if seeking a 1115 demonstration waiver is the necessary response to the requirements of 42 CFR 438.6 (e) to ensure inpatient services are available to individuals with a serious mental illness. If the state department determines it is not appropriate, the state department is required to submit a report to the general assembly with the state department's reasoning and an alternative plan and proposed timeline for the implementation of the alternative plan.

The bill requires access to inpatient civil beds at the mental health institutes at Pueblo and Fort Logan to be based on the need of the individual and the inability of the individual to be stabilized in the community.

The bill creates a community behavioral health safety net system (safety net system) and requires the department of human services (department), in collaboration with the state department, to conduct the following activities:

 

  • Define what constitutes a high-intensity behavioral health treatment program (treatment program), determine what an adequate network of high-intensity behavioral health treatment services includes, and identify existing treatment programs;

  • Develop an implementation plan to increase the number of treatment programs in the state;

  • Identify an advisory body to assist the department in creating a comprehensive proposal for a safety net system;

  • Develop a comprehensive proposal to develop a safety net system that provides behavioral health services for individuals with severe behavioral health disorders;

  • Implement the safety net system no later than January 1, 2024; and

  • Provide an annual report from January 1, 2022, until July 1, 2024, on the progress made by the department in implementing and ensuring a safety net system to the public through the annual SMART Act hearing.

Alliance is Neutral on SB 19-238 (J. Danielson | D. Moreno / C. Kennedy | M. Duran)

Improve Wages And Accountability Home Care Workers

The bill requires that, on and after July 1, 2019, of the total reimbursement that a home care service agency (agency) receives each fiscal year pursuant to the "Colorado Medical Assistance Act" for the provision of personal care services, homemaker services, and respite care services (covered services), the agency shall expend at least 77% as wages for nonadministrative employees who provide the services. Each agency shall expend at least such amount on a per-employee basis, with each such employee receiving at least 77% of each reimbursement that is associated with covered services provided by the employee.

The bill also directs the department of health care policy and financing (department) to seek an 8.1% increase in the federal reimbursement rate for the relevant service categories and requires home care service agencies to apply the entire amount of that increase to employee compensation during the 2019-20 fiscal year. Agencies are required to notify employees in writing about this increase.

On and after December 31, 2021, an agency that is found to have paid an employee less than the amount due to the employee shall be required to pay the remaining amount owed to the employee and may be subject to a civil penalty, assessed by the department, of up to $1,000.

Each agency is required to report the following information annually to the department for each nonadministrative employee who provided covered services to home care consumers during the preceding fiscal year:

 

  • The total amount of money the agency received as reimbursement for the provision of covered services by that employee in the preceding fiscal year;

  • The total amount of money the agency provided as wages to that employee for the provision of covered services during the preceding fiscal year; and

  • The employee's full name, home address, mailing address, telephone number, and e-mail address and the most recent date upon which the employee completed certain training or a skills validation test.

On or before April 1, 2021, and on or before April 1 of each year thereafter, the department or a designee of the executive director of the department is required to make the reported information publicly available on a website. The department shall not disclose an employee's home address, mailing address, telephone number, or e-mail address if the employee requests that the department not disclose the information and the employee indicates to the department that the employee is:

 

  • A victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or a crime of violence;

  • The subject of a protection order that has been issued by a court against another individual; or

  • Under extraordinary personal circumstances that require an exception to the disclosure requirement to protect the employee's health, safety, welfare, or privacy interests.

The bill requires the department and the department of public health and environment, on or before July 1, 2020, to establish a process for enforcing initial and ongoing training requirements for persons who provide covered services.

The department is required to request from the federal government an increase of 8.1% to the reimbursement rate for certain services that are delivered to consumers through the home-based and community-based services waivers. For the 2019-20 fiscal year, each agency shall pay 100% of the funding that results from the rate increase as compensation for employees who provide covered services to consumers.

Please reload

Join Alliance Members and our IDD partners in telling us why YOU want to Save Medicaid.

 

Download your "#SaveMedicaid because..." poster HERE and send your picture to info@alliancecolorado.org

About Alliance

Alliance Members

 

SERVE & EMPLOY

people in every county in Colorado

Alliance Members

 

SERVE

over 10,000 people with an Intellectual and Developmental Disability (IDD)

over 3,200 Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) and IDD Case Managers

Alliance Members

 

EMPLOY

 

Get in Touch

Alliance Colorado

 

Tel: 303.832.1618
Email: info@alliancecolorado.org
Address​​​​​​: 

1410 Grant Street Suite B-305

Denver, Colorado, 80203

Get Connected

Do you work for an Alliance Member Organization and want to stay up to date on the work Alliance is doing for you as a member?

Not an Alliance Member?

Join our Public Newsletter email list!

Join the conversation: #COIDD

  • Facebook App Icon
  • Wix Twitter page
  • YouTube Social  Icon