These are all of the Healthcare bills proposed in the 2019 session. Each bill has its own bill number, please use your browser search feature to find the bill you are interested in. Return to the Colorado home page to pick a different bill category.

None of the text is the opinion of Engage. Each bill's description, pros, and cons are our best effort at describing what each bill does, arguments for, and arguments against the bill. If you believe we are missing something, please contact us with your suggestion. Some of these bills have the notation that they have been sent to the chamber's "kill" committee. This means that the leadership has decided to send the bill to the State committee even though it does not belong there based on its subject matter. This committee, in both chambers, is stacked with members from "safe" districts and the idea is to kill the bill without forcing any less safe members to take a hard vote. It is possible for a bill to survive the kill committee, but it is very rare.

Each bill has been given a "magnitude" category: Major, Medium and Minor. This is a combination of the change the bill would create and the "controversy" level of the bill. Some minor bills that are extending current programs would be major changes if they were introducing something new, but the entire goal here is to allow you to better curate your time. Something uncontroversial likely to pass nearly unanimously that continues a past program may not be worth your time (and please remember, you can still read all of the minor bills!).

HB19-1001 Hospital Transparency Measures to Analyze Efficacy [Kennedy]

Short Description:

Requires the department of health care policy and financing to prepare an annual report detailing uncompensated hospital costs and expenditures information by payer group.

Long description:

Requires the department of health care policy and financing to prepare an annual report detailing uncompensated hospital costs and expenditures information by payer group. Information includes: cost reports submitted to Medicare and Medicaid, audited financial statements, total unreimbursed care, gross patient revenue, property, plant and equipment and accumulated depreciation, operating expenses, staffing information, number of beds, number of inpatient surgeries, number of births, number of admissions from emergency department, other gross charges categorized by primary care provider.


Arguments For:

Getting a handle on our health care costs involves understanding where those costs are coming from, and one of the biggest cost centers is hospitals. Colorado hospitals are among the most profitable in the nation, the Denver Post recently reported that their prices have increased by 76% during a seven-year period. Clearly healthcare in hospitals is not an area where we want to encourage extreme profitability. This will allow us to have a better idea of not only what the landscape looks like, but if any changes are having an effect as we go forward.

Arguments Against:

This is too big an ask for hospitals, opening up their books for the government to examine and publicly parade around. If we allow hospitals to be a for-profit enterprise, then we have to accept that they are going to try to be profitable. A profitable hospital is one that can take chances on new expensive treatment options and provide the best care.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1001

HB19-1004 Proposal for Affordable Health Coverage Option (Donovan) [Roberts, Catlin]

Short Description:

Requires the state department of health care policy to develop a plan to implement a state public option for health care coverage and submit it to the general assembly. Plan must be done by 2020 session.

Requires the state department of health care policy to develop a plan to implement a state public option for health care coverage and submit it to the general assembly. Plan must be done by 2020 session. Department must consider provider rates necessary to provide quality health care delivery, eligibility criteria for individuals and small businesses, impact on state budget, impact on stability of individual and small group markets as well as Colorado exchange and other existing health programs, determine if plan should be part of exchange, funding options including federal funds, need for federal waivers, and identify expected premium costs.


Arguments For:

Multiple regions in Colorado still struggle to obtain affordable, useful insurance. The useful clause there is important, low-cost mostly useless insurance doesn’t do anymore much good and is the system we had before the Affordable Care Act when bankruptcy from health care costs was considered a normal thing in this country. 14 counties have access to only one insurer through the state’s exchange. The federal government doesn’t seem like it is going to do anything to address this, so it is up to us. We therefore need to explore the feasibility of a public option and figure out exactly how it could work to deliver decreased premium costs to Coloradans, increase competition among insurers, and most importantly get more Coloradans insured which will lower health care costs for everyone by getting younger and healthier people into the system, increasing preventative medical care, and decreasing costly emergency room visits.

Arguments Against:

Getting costs down by getting more free market innovation into the space is the right way to go, not more government involvement. There is a reason why there are few insurers who want to provide coverage in these counties and that is because of the high cost of delivering health care in these areas. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, these insurers cannot offer lower cost plans that do not cover as much, so everyone is stuck with high priced plans. Moving these individuals onto the state dollar won’t lower the cost of health care, it will just change who is paying for it to the taxpayers of the state of Colorado. While it is true that the bill does not implement anything on its own, it is going to be either a waste of time or the first step toward a road where our budget is choked by paying for increasingly large amounts of people’s health care.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1004

HB19-1009 Substance Use Disorders Recovery (Priola) [Kennedy, Singer]

From the Opioid and Other Substance Use Disorders Study Committee

Short Description:

Expands a currently existing housing voucher program to include those with substance use disorder, requires each recovery residence in the state to be licensed, and creates a recovery fund for money the state receives as settlement or damages from opioid-related litigation.

Long Description:

Takes the existing housing voucher program that assists those with a mental health disorder, or co-occurring behavioral health disorder transitioning from department of corrections or youth corrections and expands it. Adds substance use disorder as a qualifier and adds transitioning from mental health institute as well as someone who is homeless or in an unstable living environment and transitioning from residential treatment program. Adds $4.3 million dollars to fund this expansion. Requires recovery residence (which does not include private homes in which a related family member is required to receive services) to be licensed by the state. Creates a recovery fund with a defined governing board to manage any money the state receives as settlement or damages form opioid-related litigation.

Arguments For:

Part of breaking the cycle of substance use disorder is stable housing. Obviously substance use disorder should be included along with other mental and behavioral health issues as a qualifier for this program. Expanding it beyond just those transitioning for prisons to include residential treatment programs also makes sense. This is a very dangerous time for those with substance use disorders, when they are first on their own again and we need to make sure that they are in a stable environment to have the best chance at ongoing recovery. The basics are the same: help get stable housing for those who are the edge and need help.

Arguments Against:

This program is designed to help those with mental and behavioral health problems transition out of corrections. The more you move away from a program’s intention, the less likely it is to be effective. A program to help those with substance use disorder transition out of residential treatment is too different to be folded in here.

We should not tie the hands of future legislators by dictating where any potential opioid litigation funds go. We should trust that they will be put to good (and varied) uses when the time comes.

This program should not exist in the first place. Tax dollars should not be spent on helping people who have made their own bad choices in life obtain housing.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1009

HB19-1010 Freestanding Emergency Departments Licensure [Mullica, Landgraf]

Short Description:

Creates a new license specifically for freestanding emergency departments.

Long Description:

Creates a new license specifically for freestanding emergency departments. The bill leaves the details of the license up to the state board of health except for a requirement that each individual seeking treatment at the freestanding ER receive a medical screening and a prohibition against delaying the screening to inquire about the individual’s ability to pay or insurance status. Allows the department of public health to issue waivers for licensed community clinics or clinics that serves an underserved population in the state.

Arguments For:

Colorado is one of the top three states in the nation for the number of FSEDs in the state. They need their own licensure and we need to make sure that individuals who seek treatment are at least screened for emergency health needs before worrying about payment. Vesting the board of health with the actual construction, rather than using legislative fiat, also makes it more likely to be successful. Trust the experts.

Arguments Against:

Free-standing ERs can be suitably licensed under existing licensure options and don’t need their own special license.

The legislature needs to tackle the problems of free-standing ERs when it comes to price gauging or unnecessarily sending people to full emergency rooms. Any licensure of these facilities needs to address the problems people have with them, not leave it all up to the board of health.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1010

HB19-1019 Psychotherapists Continuing Competency Requirements [Coleman]

Short Description:

Establishes continuing professional competency requirements for registered psychotherapists, which mirror the requirements for social workers, marriage and family therapists, licensed professional counselors, and addiction counselors.

Long Description:

Establishes continuing professional competency requirements for registered psychotherapists, which mirror the requirements for social workers, marriage and family therapists, licensed professional counselors, and addiction counselors. These are set by the board of registered psychotherapists and must include, at a minimum: a self-assessment of the knowledge and skills of a registered psychotherapist, development, execution, and documentation of a learning plan based on the self-assessment, and periodic demonstration of knowledge and skills through documentation of activities necessary to ensure at least minimal ability to safely practice psychotherapy.

Arguments For:

Currently registered psychotherapists are virtually unregulated, with anyone able to register and set out a shingle as a private practitioner. This will protect the public and ensure that anyone who uses the title registered psychotherapist has met some minimal requirements while stopping short of requiring licensure.

Arguments Against:

Most jobs in the field require some sort of licensure, so this will not affect the work agencies around the state are doing. Registered psychotherapists provide a useful service below the level of licensure and making them more like licensed therapists may close down this niche. The public and the market can sort out the charlatans from those who know what they are doing.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1019

HB19-1027 Clean Syringe Exchange Environmental Impact Report [Beckman]

Short Description:

Requires any agency or nonprofit organization operating a clean syringe exchange program to submit an annual environmental impact mitigation plan to its county or district board of health.

Long Description:

Requires any agency or nonprofit organization operating a clean syringe exchange program to submit an annual environmental impact mitigation plan to its county or district board of health. The plan must include the number of syringes received and given, the plan to minimize the number of syringes near the exchange location that have not been disposed of safely, and the plan to minimize the environmental impact of any unsafe or improper syringe disposal.


Arguments For:

If we are going to have clean syringe exchange programs, we need to make sure that the collateral impacts to the communities around the exchange sites are minimized. These communities are not choosing to be hosts to the sites and any organization or agency that is intruding must make sure that they both actively seek to minimize the number of improperly disposed of syringes and the impact of any that slip through the cracks.

Arguments Against:

This is an unreasonable request to make of these facilities, to have some sort of control over the areas around them.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1027

HB19-1031 Child Patient More Than One Primary Caregiver [Gray]

Short Description:

Medical marijuana patients are limited to having one primary caregiver at a time. This bill makes an exception for minors and allows each parent or guardian to serve as a primary caregiver.

Long Description: n/a

Arguments For:

Both parents need to be able to make medical decisions for their child, sometimes one parent will be unavailable. This bill simply extends this common practice to medical marijuana.

Arguments Against:

Medical marijuana is far from a run of the mill treatment and in the case of a disagreement, one parent might have gotten marijuana to the child before the other can object through the legal avenues available in cases of parental disagreement.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1031

HB19-1038 Dental Services for Pregnant Women on Children's Basic Health Plan Plus (Ginal, Story) [Duran, Lontine]

Short Description:

Requires dental services to be included for all pregnant women in the state’s child plan plus program (for children under 18 of families who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to pay for private insurance as well as pregnant women 19 or over in the same situation). Previously was children only.

Long Description: n/a

Arguments For:

Nearly 900 women in this program do not have coverage for dental services. About 25% of pregnant women in Colorado overall lacked dental insurance in 2016. Pregnancy increases the risk of a number of oral health conditions and periodontal disease in pregnant women has been linked to adverse birth outcomes such as pre-term birth and low newborn birth weights. The bacteria associated with poor oral health can also pass from mother to child with the potential to cause dental caries in infancy and early childhood.

Arguments Against:

This program is designed to provide a floor for pregnant women and children, not to accommodate every potential health issue in pregnancy. The program now only covers children’s dental care and that is how it should stay.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1038

HB19-1041 Require Surgical Smoke Protection Policies [Buckner]

Short Description:

Requires hospitals with surgical services to adopt a policy to prevent human exposure to surgical smoke (gas byproduct of energy-generating surgical devices). Also requires state department of health to create rules for surgical smoke.

Long Description: n/a

Arguments For:

Surgical smoke contains toxic chemicals including 16 that are listed as priority pollutants by the EPA and carcinogens. We need to make sure anyone in an operating room in protected. There’s absolutely no question that the smoke is irritating and can cause short-term illness (like nausea) and there is a debate over whether it causes much more serious long-term health risks with more study needed. Rather than waiting and continuing to expose people to what is at a minimum a nasty work environment and possibly much more, this bill acts now to protect the public.

Arguments Against:

The science here is early and still somewhat controversial. A review conducted by the British government found most published research on the topic was poor quality and larger longitudinal studies of OR nurses compares to other nurses have found no increased rates of cancer. Equipping all devices in operating rooms to capture the smoke will be very costly and we need a stronger foundation of evidence before taking a drastic step.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1041

HB19-1044 Advance Behavioral Health Orders Treatment (Todd, Coram) [Kraft-Tharp, Landgraf]

Short Description:

Allows for the creation of advance medical directives around behavioral health, which are treated in a similar manner to advanced directives around medical treatment.

Long Description:

Allows for the creation of advance medical directives around behavioral health. These directives can mean the provision, withholding, or withdrawal of any behavioral health examination, service, procedure, or medication. The order must include identifying information, the adult’s instructions concerning treatment and secondary treatment, medication (including primary and alternative instructions), and instructions on appointing or not appointing an agent to act on their behalf. If they appoint an agent, the order must include the agent’s contact information and the scope of the agent’s authority to make decisions.

Arguments For:

Adults with behavioral health disorders are in need of a consistent method for identifying and communicating critical behavioral health treatment history, decisions, and preferences that each sector of the health care community will recognize and follow. This will create better care for these individuals if they find themselves in a crisis and are unable to accurately convey their behavioral health treatment needs.

Arguments Against:

These directives can be created with no input from any medical personnel of any kind. This goes beyond life support and other such issues and into treatment and medicine preferences which are the arena of trained doctors. While most of these directives will no doubt be fashioned appropriately by an adult not in crisis who understands fully their treatment needs, the bill makes no provision to ensure this reality and it remains possible that some will be crafted by adults who are not in control of their behavioral health disorder and are not recording the treatment and medicine that will best help them in a crisis. Because behavioral health disorders are different from end of life scenarios in how they can possibly impact others, we cannot allow this blank check with no medical oversight.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1044

HB19-1070 Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Cancer Drug Testing (Tate) [Arndt] TECHNICAL BILL

From the Statutory Revision Committee

Short Description:

Repeals unnecessary language requiring department of public health and environment to test substances for cancer treatment.

Long Description: n/a

HB19-1077 Pharmacist Dispense Drug Without Prescription in Emergency (Tate, Pettersen) [Roberts]

Short Description:

Allows a pharmacist to dispense an emergency supply of a chronic, non-opioid or similar controlled substance, maintenance drug to a patient without a prescription under certain conditions.

Long Description:

Allows a pharmacist to dispense an emergency supply of a chronic, non-opioid or similar controlled substance, maintenance drug to a patient without a prescription if the pharmacist is unable to obtain authorization to refill the prescription from a health care provider, has a record of the prescription in the patient’s name or withholding the drug will endanger the health of the patient in the pharmacist’s opinion, the amount dispensed will not exceed the amount of the most recent prescription, the pharmacist has not dispensed an emergency supply to the same patient in the previous year, and the prescriber of the drug has not indicated that no refills are authorized.


Arguments For:

This is a narrowly constructed exception to the need for a prescription. It excludes opioids and similar addictive drugs, it requires the pharmacist to try to obtain an actual prescription and adhere to some basic checks and balances to prevent abuses. And it solves a problem: for some these drugs are a life and death matter and we cannot let an emergency situation fall through the cracks because of bureaucratic snafus. The bill is informally called Kevin's Law because it is named after Kevin, a type 1 diabetic who did not have access to emergency medication and died.

Arguments Against:

Any drug that requires a prescription requires it for a reason. Because we don’t want people taking it without the informed consent of a medical professional who has access to the entire medical picture of the patient. No offense to pharmacists, but they are not doctors and do not have a patient’s medical history. There may be other prescriptions the individual is taking the pharmacist is unaware of. And so if the pharmacist cannot get a health care provider to provide a prescription, there is probably a good reason. The bill also does not require pharmacists to check the state’s prescription drug monitoring program or make any new additions to that program for this distribution without a prescription. Just because the patient hasn’t sought the drug from this particular pharmacist without a prescription doesn’t mean they haven’t tried it with others.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB19-1077

SB19-001 Expand Medication-Assisted Treatment Pilot Program (Garcia)

Short Description:

Expands an opioid medication-assisted treatment pilot program begun in 2017 in Pueblo and Routt counties to the entire San Louis Valley and up to two additional counties. Also increases funding from $500,000 to $5 million and extends program by two years.

Long Description:

Expands an opioid medication-assisted treatment pilot program begun in 2017 in Pueblo and Routt counties to the entire San Louis Valley and up to two additional counties. This program provides grants to community agencies, office-based practices, behavioral health organizations, and substance abuse treatment organizations. Also increases annual funding from $500,000 to $5 million and extends program by two years (was due to expire in 2020). Takes management of the program from the University of Colorado college of nursing and gives it to the University of Colorado center for research into substance use disorder prevention, treatment, and recovery support strategies. Adds representation from San Luis Valley and any additional counties to advisory board.

Arguments For:

This bill takes the program that has worked well in part of the state and brings it to other parts that need help. Pueblo and Routt both vastly increased the number of people who received medication-assisted treatment, from 99 in 2017 to 626 in 2018. The San Luis Valley has some of the highest opioid overdose rates in the state and would greatly benefit from being added to the program. Many other counties also lack available and qualified medication-assisted treatment options.

Arguments Against:

If the program is so successful, we should not be capping it. Open it up to any county in the state that can demonstrate the need for it and open the coffers more to fund whatever is needed.

We don’t yet have the data from 2018 to know if these programs are actually helping lower overdose fatalities in Pueblo and Routt counties. We should have a better idea if they are actually working to achieve this goal before expanding them.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-001

SB19-004 Address High-Cost Health Insurance Pilot Program (Donovan) [Roberts]

Short Description:

Tells the state’s personnel director to explore the feasibility of developing a one-year pilot program to allow individuals in specific parts of Eagle and Garfield counties who earn between 400 and 500% of the federal poverty line to participate in the group medical insurance plans offered to state employees. If the plan is determined to be feasible, the director must implement it. Also alters state health care cooperatives to make it possible for division of insurance to work with large group, small group, and individuals to band together to increase their bargaining power to get better rates from both providers and insurers.

Long Description:

Tells the state’s personnel director to explore the feasibility of developing a one-year pilot program to allow individuals in specific parts of Eagle and Garfield counties who earn between 400 and 500% of the federal poverty line (and are thus ineligible for federal subsidies under the Affordable Care Act) to participate in the group medical insurance plans offered to state employees. Program is capped at 100 individuals. Director must find out how the state can enroll non-employees, if a third-party is required, the effect on premiums for both the existing plans and individuals eligible for the pilot program, and any other costs to the state. If the plan is determined to be feasible, the director must implement it. Also alters state health care cooperatives to make it possible for division of insurance to work with large group, small group, and individuals to band together to increase their bargaining power to get better rates from both providers and insurers.

Arguments For:

Many Coloradans in rural areas fall into a trap of earning too much to be eligible for federal insurance subsidies under the ACA but not enough to really afford their pricey insurance (in some cases more than 20% of the annual income). They then do not purchase insurance, because they cannot afford it, which makes all of the problems of few carriers, few plans, and high costs in these rural areas worse. Getting these individuals into affordable insurance plans will benefit everyone, as the more people we can get affordably insured the lower the premiums and health care costs for the entire state (due to more young and healthy individuals in the pool, more preventative medicine, and fewer ER visits). Larger risk pools are the best way to provide insurance to these people and this bill takes extra care to make sure this can work for the state by first requiring a feasibility study and then starting with a small pilot program. Getting people cheap insurance that doesn’t really cover anything when you actually need it is the mess we had before the Affordable Care Act and won’t solve any problems.

Arguments Against:

The feasibility study could be a fig leaf, as the bill doesn’t define what is and isn’t feasible at all and definitions will definitely vary. State employees may see their insurance premiums worsened by adding these people who live in high health care cost regions and that may still be deemed feasible. People in the situation this bill identifies should be free to purchase cheaper insurance that wouldn’t be as comprehensive as what they are currently required to purchase but would still provide some coverage.

Trying to stick more and more fingers into the flooding dike of private insurance is worse than a waste of time, it diverts us from the real solutions we need to pursue of removing the private market entirely from health insurance. We need single payer health care, not more bandages to keep private insurers (who provide state employees with their coverage) in the game.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-004

SB19-005 Import Prescription Drugs From Canada (Rodriguez, Ginal) [Jaquez Lewis]

Short Description:

Creates a program by which the department of health can import prescription pharmaceuticals from Canada. The program must ensure drug safety and cost savings for Coloradans and must be approved by the federal department of health and human services.

Long Description:

Creates a program by which the department of health can import prescription pharmaceuticals from Canada. The program must ensure drug safety and cost savings for Coloradans and must be approved by the federal department of health and human services. Must select qualified Canadian suppliers that are licensed and regulated under Canadian law. Must sample imported products for purity, chemical composition, and potency. Must ensure that all imported products are significantly less costly than their U.S. equivalents. Must ensure that no drugs are distributed, dispensed, or sold outside Colorado. Must ensure that carriers are both paying the proper amounts for the drugs and charging the proper copays to consumers. Must set a maximum profit margin for wholesalers, distributors, and pharmacies that participate. Must exclude generic products if their importation would violate US patent law. Must determine a method to cover administrative costs which may include a fee on each product sold.

Arguments For:

U.S. consumers pay some of the highest prescription drug costs in the world, as high as twice as Canadians for patented drugs and 20% more for generics. They also in some cases are skyrocketing, as in the well-known example of insulin. Canada has a system to license and monitor drugs that is equivalent to our FDA, obviously works well for Canadians, and the US and Canada have a memorandum of understanding on pharmaceutical regulation cooperation since 1973. The bill includes sufficient protections to make sure that the drugs are safe and effective and that no new cottage industry is created to grossly profit from the situation. Vermont has already passed a similar law and is waiting for federal approval. This is literally a matter of life and death for many people, who sometimes have to choose between medication and other basics like clothing and food. We need to provide our citizens some other way to get the life-saving medicine they need.

Arguments Against:

The FDA opposes this for safety concerns. Canada may have its own version but it is not the same as our FDA and the Canadian government does not inspect or take responsibility for the legitimacy of prescription medicines shipped to the U.S. We should not rely on a vague sampling process to keep our citizens safe. Importation also greatly increases the risk of counterfeiting, particularly with Internet pharmacies, and the burden of investigating this will fall on ill-prepared state governments. The state’s ability to construct some sort of monitoring system to ensure safety may either not exist or be extremely expensive. This bill will also damage American pharmaceutical companies which employ thousands of American workers.

The Trump administration is never going to approve this bill, Vermont’s from last year is still waiting and no one expects it to be approved. So in the end it won’t change anything.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-005

SB19-008 Substance Use Disorder Treatment in Criminal Justice System (Moreno, Priola) [Kennedy, Singer]

From the Opioid and Other Substance Use Disorders Study Committee

Short Description:

Creates a study to find alternatives to criminal charges for those with substance use disorders arrested for drug offenses as well as best practices for investigating criminal opioid distribution and a process for automatically sealing criminal records for drug offenses. Also makes the current sealing process easier for those with level 4 drug felonies (lowest level) or a lower level of crime. Requires department of corrections to allow medication-assisted treatment to people who were receiving treatment in a local jail previously. Also requires jails that receive funding through behavioral  health services program to allow medication-assisted treatment and authorizes state to ask for Federal Medicaid funding for substance use disorder treatment in jails. Also increases diversion pilot program funding.

Long Description:

Creates a study to find alternatives to criminal charges for those with substance use disorders arrested for drug offenses as well as best practices for investigating criminal opioid distribution and a process for automatically sealing criminal records for drug offenses. Also makes the current sealing process easier for those with level 4 drug felonies (lowest level) or a lower level of crime. This allows convicts to petition to have their records sealed three or more years after the final disposition of their case or their release from supervision as long as they have not been charged or convicted of a criminal offense in those three years. The court first reviews the petition, then if it decides it is acceptable, sets a hearing.

Requires department of corrections to allow medication-assisted treatment to people who were receiving treatment in a local jail previously. Allows department to enter into partnerships with private organizations to assist in development and administration of this treatment. Also requires jails that receive funding through behavioral health services program to allow medication-assisted treatment and again allows for private partnerships to administer. Authorizes state to ask for Federal Medicaid funding for substance use disorder treatment in jails (must include medication-assisted treatment and withdrawal management programs).

Also increases diversion pilot program funding, growing from 4 to 10 sites for a law enforcement led diversion pilot and 8 to 12 sites for a co-responder pilot that utilizes a law enforcement/behavioral health specialist team to de-escalate situations that have historically resulted in arrest.


Arguments For:

This bill takes direct aim at one of the links in the addiction chain, prisoners who aren’t able to get the treatment they need. First, we need to do a better job of keeping some non-violent people out of prison period, which is the point of diversion programs and other alternatives including de-escalation. Second we need to do a better job of getting treatment to those in jail, so they can break their addiction. Finally, we need to provide a better path for those who have kicked their addiction to fully re-enter society without their past dragging them down. We cannot punish our way out of drug abuse and addiction, we’ve basically tried that for years and gotten nowhere.

Arguments Against:

This bill sets us further down the path of trying to find ways to not punish people for their behavior. Increasing the number of get out of jail free cards isn’t going to deter people from committing crimes. As for kicking addictions, our prisoners are already not being supplied with drugs, so they are detoxing without medication assistance or withdrawal treatment. It’s on the individual to make the best of their opportunity to clean after that. Sealing records makes it harder for potential employers and landlords to find out the information they want to know about someone’s past. If the individual in question can convince everyone that they have truly turned their lives around great, but the employer or landlord should be able to decide for themselves, not have the information withheld.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-008

SB19-010 Professional Behavioral Health Services for Schools (Fields) [McLachlan, Valdez]

Short Description:

Allows schools to use the existing behavioral health care professional matching grant program, designed for schools to bolster their behavioral health care services, for a wider array of mental and behavioral health issues as well as access community partners for matching funds and services.

Long Description:

Allows schools to use the existing behavioral health care professional matching grant program, designed for schools to bolster their behavioral health care services, for a wider array of mental and behavioral health issues as well as access community partners for matching funds and services. The program currently focuses almost exclusively on substance abuse, but the bill would broaden that out to any behavioral health issues and solutions.


Arguments For:

Student mental and behavioral health issues go far beyond substance abuse. Colorado has one of the higher teen suicide rates in the U.S. and it is absolutely appropriate to use this program more broadly to address the mental well-being of more students. It also makes sense to involve more community organizations to help.

Arguments Against:

This program is designed for substance-abuse issues, not for broader mental health. Stretching a program beyond its initial conception can have unintended consequences.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-010

SB19-015 Create Statewide Health Care Review Committee (Ginal) [Beckman]

Short Description:

Recreates the former health care task force, renamed the statewide health care review committee, to study health care issues during both the regular session and interim period. Membership consists of respective health care committees in the House and Senate.

Long Description: n/a

Arguments For:

True in-depth study is frequently needed for the legislature to get its arms around complicated problems and there are few problems as complicated as our health care system. Review committees like this do an excellent job of bringing multiple stakeholder groups together and coming up with solutions to problems.

Arguments Against: n/a

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-015

SB19-021 Board of Health Approval for Legal Services (Moreno) [McKean] TECHNICAL BILL

From the Statutory Revision Committee

Short Description:

Removes requirements that state board of health approve retention of counsel when department of public health and environment seeks to bring legal action and that an agency acquire approval of state board of health before retaining counsel to defend itself.

Long Description: n/a

SB19-041 Health Insurance Contract Carrier and Policyholder (Smallwood)

Short Description:

Currently policyholders must pay premiums for individuals under their plan through the date that the policyholder informs the insurance carrier that the individual is no longer eligible. This bill would make the policyholder liable only until the individual is no longer eligible as long as the carrier is notified within 10 business days of ineligibility.

Long Description: n/a

Arguments For:

If an individual leaves unexpectedly it’s tough for a business to get the notification through to the insurance carrier right away. The business should have some leeway to inform the insurance carrier without losing money on the premium for an employee that isn’t eligible anymore.

Arguments Against:

This is a pretty small amount of money (one person’s premium over 10 days) to create this structure for.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-041

SB19-044 Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Emergency Medical and Trauma Care System (Zenzinger) [Hooton]

From the Statutory Revision Committee

Short Description:

Repeals obsolete language requiring department of public health to implement a statewide emergency medical and trauma care system by July 1, 1997, and requiring coordination with counties in their own regional systems.

Long Description: n/a

SB19-052 Emergency Medical Service Provider Scope of Practice (Garcia)

Short Description:

Expands Emergency Medical Services providers scope of practice by allowing them to practice under the direction of an advanced practice nurse or physician assistant. Also authorizes state board of health to create rules to expand EMS scope of practice as it sees fit.

Long Description: n/a

Arguments For:

Advanced practice nurses and physician assistants receive massive amounts of training. We use them all over the medical field to supplement physicians and they are more than qualified to supervise trained EMS personnel. Expanding the supervisor field will help EMS organizations by not requiring them to pay a full-blown physician, which will help us all by making EMS services less expensive.

Arguments Against:

This does not differentiate at all between various levels of EMS providers, which can vary quite a bit in terms of education requirements from an EMT (over a hundred hours) to a paramedic (over a thousand). We should not have a less qualified and trained individual, like an advanced nurse or physician assistant, supervising another less trained and qualified individual like an EMT. There is no guarantee that EMS providers will pass on any savings from less expensive supervision options. They may very well just pocket it as profit.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-052

SB19-065 Peer Assistance Emergency Medical Service Provider (Garcia)

Short Description:

Creates a peer health assistance program for emergency medical service providers funded through fees collected from initial or renewal of certification as an EMS provider. State board of health to select one or more providers to administer the program.

Long Description:

Creates a peer health assistance program for emergency medical service providers funded through fees collected from initial or renewal of certification as an EMS provider. State board of health to select one or more providers to administer the program. Program will provide for education and offer assistance of EMS personnel for the recognition and prevention of physical, emotional, and psychological problems. Also help refer for treatment, monitor status of those referred, and provide counseling and support.


Arguments For:

This is one of the highest stress fields in the country. The extraordinary stress combined with constant tragedy makes for a toxic stew. A recent study of Canadian EMS personnel found nearly ½ exhibited clinically significant symptom clusters for psychological problems, with much higher rates of PTSD, depression, and panic disorder than the general population. A national survey of US personnel found 58% of respondents unhappy with their mental health services, with many unhappy with being sent to non-trauma trained counselors. The program this bill creates would be driven solely by EMS needs and funded by EMS providers themselves.

Arguments Against:

EMS providers should not have to foot the bill for their mental well-being, given that their job is a critical public service. The state, on behalf of the taxpayers EMS providers serve, should fund this program.

With the skyrocketing costs of health care, we do not need to add yet more costs for operators in the field (or for the state if you went that payment route) to get passed on to consumers. The stigma around mental illness is just as responsible for the problems in this field and money won’t solve that. EMS providers are able to seek mental health treatment under their health insurance and should do so.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-065

SB19-073 Statewide System of Advance Medical Directives (Ginal) [Landgraf]

Short Description:

Directs the department of health to create an electronic system that allows medical professionals and individuals to upload and access advanced directives for medical treatment (or non-treatment).

Long Description: n/a

Arguments For:

A paper system is an obvious problem in this area, where the whole point of an advanced directive is to enable an individual to make their wishes known when their medical condition makes it impossible for them to do so in the moment.

Arguments Against:

Electronic systems are more vulnerable to hacking and literal life and death decisions shouldn’t be exposed in this manner.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB19-073