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State of Colorado Legislative News

See Legislative news below from our friends at the Colorado Center on Law and Policy! Have a great weekend!

CCLP Heads-Up recaps and previews developing issues of interest regarding the health, economic security and well-being of low-income Coloradans. The newsletter is published regularly by the Colorado Center on Law and Policy, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that advances the health and economic security of low-income Coloradans through research, education, advocacy and litigation.

Medicaid issues warrant notice

Three bills that were recommended and developed by CCLP and the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition (CCDC) will be considered by Colorado legislators next week. House Bills 1126 and 1143 are scheduled to be heard by the House Public Health Care & Human Services Committee, Feb. 14 at 1:30 p.m. at the State Capitol. A related measure, Senate Bill 121, is slated to be reviewed by the Senate Health & Human Services Committee’s on Feb. 16 at 1:30 p.m.
The bills, which received bipartisan sponsorship, are intended to address shortcomings in client correspondence and notifications when Medicaid benefits are about to be changed or terminated. An interim committee held three hearings about Medicaid correspondence last summer, which included testimony from CCLP, CCDC, and the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing.

Currently, Medicaid recipients are supposed to receive notice with information about how to appeal changes or termination of their benefits if they believe the action is unjustified. In practice, however, these notices are often vague and confusing. Most do not specify why benefits are being terminated or reduced, so Medicaid clients don’t always know whether they should challenge the decision. Furthermore, without proper notice, those who appeal may be unable to fully prepare their case.

Sponsored by Rep. Jessie Danielson, D-Wheat Ridge, and Sen. Larry Crowder, R-Alamosa, HB 1126 would ensure that an administrative law judge reviews the sufficiency of Medicaid termination notices at the beginning of an appeal hearing. The bill also requires the judge to inform the client of his or her option to receive an improved notice with the possibility of maintaining benefits, or proceed with their hearing.

Sponsored by Rep. Lois Landgraf, R-Fountain, and Sen. Crowder, HB 1143 would direct the state to audit communications with Medicaid clients. These audits would review the notices for legal sufficiency, clarity and accuracy. Audit findings, conclusions and recommendations will be presented to legislative committees, which can then consider whether the results warrant further reforms.

Finally, SB 121, sponsored by Sen. Kevin Lundberg, R-Berthoud and Sen. Crowder, requires the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing to engage in a process to improve Medicaid client communications – including client letters and notices – that addresses denial, reduction, suspension, or termination of Medicaid benefits.

Collectively, these proposals will help ensure that Medicaid clients do not lose access to health care due to the shortcomings in the current notification process.

Choosing an HCBS Waiver for your Child (new tool!)

The child  version of the “Choosing an HCBS Waiver”Flowchart has been posted and can be accessed by clicking on the link below.  The charts were developed by the Children’s Disability Advisory Committee. The intent was to create a tool that can be used by families, Advocates, Case Managers,  and Navigators to help families choose between the various programs by showing the eligibility criteria and services available for each waiver.

Click on the link below for the Childrens HCBS Waiver Flowchart:

https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/sites/default/files/Choosing%20an%20HCBS%20Waiver%20Flowchart-Children-January%202017.pdf

The Adult HCBS Waiver Flowchart is also available.  Click on the link below:

https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/sites/default/files/Choosing%20an%20HCBS%20Waiver%20Flowchart-Adults-January%202017.pdf

 

Support SB 14-118, Protections for Individuals with Disabilities

Where: Capitol Building, 3rd floor, room SCR 352

When:  Monday, April 21, 2014, 1:30 pm

What it is:  An attempt to align the Colorado Civil Rights Act with the Americans with Disabilities Act. This legislation would make the Disabilities portion of the Colorado Civil Rights Act enforceable.

  •  It will increase statutory damages from $50-500  to $3,500.
  •  Adjustment of a provision that allows for attorney fees in cases of discrimination against a service animal, but not a person.
  •  Continues current protections for service animals in training.

 

The presence of families/children at this hearing is strongly encouraged – this is the greatest legislative priority for the disability community this year and will significantly affect people for many years to come!