These are all of the health care bills proposed in the 2020 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, arguments for, and arguments against are our best effort at describing what each bill does, arguments for, and arguments against the bill. The long description is hidden by design, you can click on it to expand it if you want to read more detail about 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.

Prime sponsors are given after each bill, with Senate sponsors in () and House sponsors in []. They are color-coded by party.

Some bills will have text highlighted in pink or highlighted in orange or highlighted in yellow. Pink highlights mean House amendments to the original bill; orange mean Senate amendments; yellow highlights mean conference committee amendments. The bill will say under the header if it has been amended.

Each bill has been given a "magnitude" category: Mega, Major, Medium, Minor, and Technical. 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!). Technical bills are here to round out the list. They are non-substantive changes.

HB20-1006 Early Childhood Mental Health Consultants (Pettersen (D), Story (D)) [McCluskie (D), Sirota (D)]

From the Early Childhood and School Readiness Legislative Commission

Appropriation: None
Fiscal Impact: Minimal in first year, then nearly $600,000 in year two

Goal: Create the framework for a statewide program of early childhood mental health consultation.

Description:

State must design a statewide voluntary program of early childhood mental health consultation to support mental health care across the state in a variety of early childhood settings and practices in order to increase number of qualified early childhood mental health consultants for on-site consultations from prenatal period through 8 years of age. Program should also have a published list of certified mental health consultants and establish a statewide certification process for mental health consultants. State is directed to explore funding options for the program and report back to legislature by end of the year.

Additional Information:

State is to work with National Center of Excellence for Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation, nationally recognized entities that focus on promoting social, emotional, and behavioral outcomes of young children, and key stakeholders in the state, including mental health professionals, non-profits and hospitals with expertise in children’s mental health, and early childhood education providers.

Program must develop a defined model of consultation for the state that includes qualifications for mental health consultants, job expectations, expected outcomes, and guidance on ratios between mental health consultants and populations served. Must develop a plan to help mental health consultants reach these expectations.

Model must include:

  • Clear qualifications for consultants, including expertise in early childhood development, family systems, and mental health services for young children, knowledge of a consultative model of practice, and available resources and services to children and families.
  • Expectations for the placement of regional consultants to meet local community needs. Any publicly funded mental health consultants must be chosen through a competitive bidding process every three years.
  • Guidance concerning scope of care, including training, coaching, prevention, and other appropriate services
  • Methods to increase availability of bilingual or multilingual consultants
  • Guidance on the diversity of settings and providers to meet the varied needs from prenatal to age 8, including but not limited to early child care, elementary schools, home visits, child welfare caseworkers, and public health and Health Care professionals.
  • Achievement goals, including promoting social-emotional growth and development, guidance to professionals and caregivers about effective ways to support the child’s development, reduce challenging behaviors based on trauma, support mental health and well-being of adults caring for children, and connecting children and their families to available resources.
  • Guidance on appropriate ratios of mental health consultants and their populations, including case load expectations

Training in the plan must include:

  • Trauma and trauma-informed practices
  • Adverse childhood experiences
  • Resilience
  • Child development through age 8
  • Effects of caregiver substance abuse
  • Sensory processing issues
  • Needs of children with disabilities
  • State’s child protection and foster care system
  • Occupational therapy, speech therapy, physical therapy, and mental health therapy
  • Other public and private supports and services
  • Consultation as model

Plan must also include coaching strategies and support for consultants.

State must establish certificate by July 2022. State must also develop statewide data collection and information system to analyze implementation data by July 2022. Biannual reports due to the legislature with gap analysis of available number of consultants and unmet needs, and adjustments to better meet caseloads. State must also contract with an independent third-party to evaluate the program by August 2025 in preparation for presentation at SMART hearing in January 2026.


Auto-Repeal: None

Arguments For:

Mental health issues can occur very early in life. Early intervention and prevention can make all the difference in helping a child be set up for success and late intervention can make it very difficult to get a kid back onto a good path. But we have to walk before we can run here. We need to first decide exactly what we want in a mental health consultant in early childhood and what that would look like statewide. We also have to figure out different ways we can fund this. Early childhood support is tricky, not just from a developmental perspective but also from a variety of settings perspective: everything from homes to daycare to preschool to elementary school. If we just try to jump in with both feet now, we are likely to fail because the base of this program needs better definition first. In order to start with the larger overview, we have to start vaguer and then hone in on the model that will work best.

Arguments Against:

This all sounds nice in theory but the main problem in mental health care remains lack of funds. We don’t have enough qualified professionals because of lack of funding. We don’t have enough early intervention because of lack of funding. A program like this will never succeed unless it is explicitly funded with steady revenue streams.


There is too much vagueness in the program: the certification is not described at all, in terms of what minimum standards are in place to achieve it, there is no required amount of training, the types of training that are specified are in essence asking for a certified clinician. Are we looking to train more folks who are not mental health experts in this very specific area or are we looking to divert more mental health experts into this area? These are two very different directions with very different funding and implementation and we need to pick one. And of course there is no funding and the consultation is described as voluntary.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB20-1006

HB20-1028 Need For Juvenile Behavioral Health Treatment (Gonzales (D)) [Beckman (R), Michaelson Jenet (D)]

From the School Safety Committee

Appropriation: None
Fiscal Impact: Negligible

Goal: Create a working group to address the lack of residential and in-patient mental health treatment for children and youth with severe behavioral health needs.

Description:

Creates a working group inside the school safety resource center to address the needs of school districts with respect to the adequacy and availability of residential mental health treatment for children and youth who have been identified by school personnel as having severe behavioral or mental health disorders and potential ways to resolve such needs.

Additional Information:

Working group must include at a minimum, representatives from the department of education, department of public health and environment, department of health care policy and financing, local schools districts throughout the state, department of human services, county departments of human or social services, medical providers, and residential treatment providers.

Group must address:

  • Number of children and youth for whom the state provided residential treatment services in previous two years
  • Number of children and youth who needed residential services but for whom beds were unavailable in same time period
  • Cost associated with providing the additional residential treatment beds to meet the unmet need
  • Options available or potentially available to assist schools in handling children and youth who have been identified by school personnel as having severe behavioral or mental health disorders
  • Identifying barriers faced by children and youth who have mental health, substance use, or developmental issues when trying to access appropriate care
  • Plan for identifying , securing, and making fully operational additional residential treatment beds no later than September 2021

Report due in January 2021.


Auto-Repeal: None

Arguments For:

We are down to almost no residential health beds in the state and the downward trend is scary. We also have almost no day treatment, which is considered in-patient and also keeps kids who should not be in schools out of them and into places where they can get the help they need. When we don’t have the ability to send these kids to residential treatment or day treatment they stay in their homes and they go to school, where they are a huge safety risk to others and themselves. As for housing this as a school safety issue, some schools right now are the hubs of raising money for parents to send their kids out-of-state to programs. Local communities, in particular schools, are on the front lines and couching it this way keeps the focus narrower which should help us act faster. School safety is frankly also where a lot of money is at. The legislature has proven willing to spend tens of millions of dollars of additional funds every year in the name of school safety and if couching this approach as something that benefits school safety is the way to get it done, then great.

Arguments Against:

Schools do not run residential treatment centers and are not in the position to do so. While it would make sense to include schools in any task force examining this issue, approaching it from a perspective of school safety rather than mental and behavioral health of the children may limit the scope of this inquiry. Our ultimate goal is to get better mental and behavioral health for children, particularly those that require residential treatment. The school safety angle is a bit of a confounding factor.


We already know the problems here, they in part relate to new federal laws and they in part relate to a lack of funding support from the state. We don’t need another task force, we need action.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB20-1028

HB20-1036 Align Emergency Medical Service Provider Statutes (Woodward (R), Zenzinger (D)) [Arndt (D), McKean (R)]

PASSED HOUSE COMMITTEE

From the Statutory Revision Committee

Description:

Aligns provisions created by SB19-065 with provisions created by SB19-242 regarding EMS providers.

HB20-1050 Other Outlet Pharmacies Drug Distribution (Ginal (D), Tate (R)) [Hooton (D), Larson (R)]

Appropriation: None
Fiscal Impact: None

Goal: Treat ambulatory surgical centers, hospices, and convalescent centers which compound, dispense, and deliver prescription drugs, but not to the general public, the same as hospitals that are set-up in the same way.

Description:

Current law allows hospitals that do not operate a registered pharmacy or any other way of distributing prescription drugs to the public but do engage in the compounding, dispensing, and delivering of these drugs to make a casual sale or loan of prescription drugs to another registered location or drug wholesaler, sell or give a prescription drug to a practitioner authorized by law to prescribe the drug and supply an emergency kit or starter dose to specified entities. This bill allows ambulatory surgical centers, hospices, and convalescent centers that are registered in the same way (do not operate pharmacy and do not distribute drugs to the public) to have the same allowances.

Additional Information:

Specific venues emergency or starter kits can be distributed to include facilities approved by state board, licensed and approved home health agencies, hospices, and acute treatment units. Casual sales cannot exceed 10% of the total number of units dispensed by the location on an annual basis.


Auto-Repeal: None

Arguments For:

These other venues already have the same registration type with the same guidelines as hospitals but are not allowed to make these distributions while the hospitals are. It doesn’t make sense to treat them that differently: the registration is the same and the activity in the facility is the same. We should allow these other facilities the same leeway we allow hospitals.

Arguments Against:

An ambulatory surgical center, hospice, or convalescent center is not the same thing as a hospital, even if all of these facilities can get the same registration as a prescription drug facility that does not dispense to the public. A hospital by definition of its licensing has different standards it must meet and that is why it is appropriate to treat it differently than the other facilities.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB20-1050

HB20-1056 Nonsubstantive Reorganization Dental Practice Act (Crowder (R), Ginal (D)) [Landgraf (R), Duran (D)] TECHNICAL BILL

Description:

Non-substantially reorganizes the Dental Practice Act.

HB20-1075 Protect Human Life At Conception (Marble (R)) [Humphrey (R), Saine (R)]

Appropriation: None
Fiscal Impact: None

Goal: Make abortion illegal in Colorado except for protecting the mother’s health and a few other limited circumstances.

Description:

Prohibits abortion except in cases of protecting the mother’s health, when the fetus is already dead in the mother’s womb, if a physical is performing chemotherapy and accidentally kills the fetus, or to remove an ectopic pregnancy. Makes it a class 1 felony for the doctor, no punishment for the mother. States that the sale, use, prescription, and administration of contraceptive measures, devices, drugs, or chemicals is still legal.

Additional Information: n/a

Auto-Repeal: None

Arguments For:

No one is forcing anyone to keep a child. Any mother who does not want her child is free to put it up for adoption. But abortion is a nice way of saying killing an unborn fetus. Whether or not a fetus could live outside the womb is not really the issue, the issue is that the act kills it and ends a potential human life before it has even begun. In cases where the health of another human, the mother, is threatened, then of course the mother’s health must be protected. The constitutionality of abortion may change with the new composition of the Supreme Court, which is what decides what is or is not constitutional in our country. This law is an opportunity for the state to test whether the Supreme Court will strike down Roe v. Wade.

Arguments Against:

This is the most deeply personal medical choice for any woman, and to be clear, it is a personal medical choice. The right to choose abortion is essential to ensuring a woman can decide for herself if, when and with whom to start or grow a family. Women have the right to make their own decisions about their bodies. A fetus is not a baby, there is a reason why we have separate terms for the two. Abortion is legal in this country (another issue with this bill, it is unconstitutional, full-stop, which it recognizes by stating the courts of the federal government have no jurisdiction to interfere with Colorado law in this area, which is not true) because we recognize that until it is born, a fetus is not a baby. We also know, for a fact, from our history that criminalizing abortion doesn’t end the practice, it merely moves it into the shadows and alleys where it becomes less safe. And that the result is people with means find a way to still obtain an abortion in a mostly safe environment while people who do not have means find a way to obtain an abortion in a very dangerous one. Finally, this contains no exception for rape or incest, forcing a woman to carry her abuser’s baby to full term and delivery. This could jeopardize our federal Medicaid funding, because Medicaid requires any woman who is the victim of rape to be able to obtain an abortion through Medicaid. And this could result in investigations of women who have miscarriages or a stillbirth.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB20-1075

SB20-043 Out-of-Network Provider Reimbursement Rate (Tate (R)) [D. Valdez (D)] TECHNICAL BILL

From the Statutory Revision Committee

Description:

HB19-1174 set a requirement for an insurance carrier to reimburse an out-of-network health care provider who provides emergency services or covered non-emergency services to a covered person at an in-network facility at certain rates. A conforming amendment in the bill had the wrong amounts and this bill fixes it.

SB20-045 Colorado Department Of Public Health And Environment Hospital License Requirements (Tate (R)) [D. Valdez (D)]

From the Statutory Revision Committee

Description:

Repeals law requiring hospital licenses to have the signature of the president of the state board of health, the attestation of the secretary of the state board of health, and the state board’s seal.