This is a short recap – and also a reminder if you have not yet joined as a CSL member for 2020, please do that. Ours is a membership organization and is dependent on dues to continue our work. Thank you.
Regards, Bob Brocker – President Colorado Senior Lobby
Join Colorado Senior Lobby Today – CLICK HERE
No 2020 legislative bills have numbers as yet, but probably will be assigned numbers by the end of this week. We discussed three bill drafts.
Jack Regenbogen of CCLP kicked us off this morning with two bills that Colorado Center on Law and Policy (CCLP) is advocating: one for Fairness in Access to Eviction Court Records – which our body voted unanimously to support; the other to Prohibit Housing Discrimination Source of Income – this one was met with many questions, most of which were around Section 8 housing vouchers.
- Aubrey Hasvold from the Renters Roundtable Coalition (which CSL is also a member of) will be at our 1/13 meeting to answer further questions and to seek CSL’s support for this bill.
CSL is advocating for Senate Bill SB20-022, sponsored by Senator Danielson (D-District 20). The final draft of that bill is attached. The intent of this bill is to encourage young health service students to take a geriatric track while in school in order to begin the process of increasing the number of practicing geriatric trained professionals in Colorado. Estimates are that we are short 200 such professionals today, and that that shortage will only increase as our population continues to age. This bill clearly recognizes the significant demographic shift in Colorado’s population – a 43% increase in the over 65 age group between now and 2030, and a 250,000 person increase in the 75+ population in the same time period; right alongside the recognition of the significant value of geriatric care.
- Geriatrics recognizes the importance of body, mind and social engagement in sustaining good health into aging. Geriatrics is the branch of medical care dealing with issues related to Aging and diseases of the Aging. There is currently an estimated shortage of over 200 geriatric practitioners in Colorado alone, and over 20,000 nationally.
- This bill provides for a relatively small fund to pay student loan debt for those nurse practitioner and physician assistant students who take a one-year course in geriatric care AND agree to practice by using that geriatric care training in rural and under served areas of Colorado for a minimum of two years. By focusing on nurse practioner (NP’s) and physician assistants (PA’s) the state’s older population will benefit more quickly and more widely than by focusing on physicians who would require significantly more dollars for tuition loan repayment to encourage their study of geriatric medicine. This bill, if fully funded, will produce twenty new providers trained in geriatrics and it is hoped that this new core group of twenty over a five year period and they will gradually train others across the state.
- The more trained geriatric care providers there are, the longer older patients can thrive without the need for other, more costly and in many cases, less effective, forms of medical care.
- Please support this bill by contacting your state representative and senator and let us know of other organizations whom would likely sign on in support.
We also had presentations and discussions with Kevin Neimond, Director of Legislative Affairs for the Department of Human Services, and Nina Schwartz, Legislative Liaison, Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF).
Kevin spoke about the money set aside from the 2017/2018 budget that was over-estimated for the Homestead Exemption and subsequently allocated by statute to the Older Coloradans Fund for use by the AAA’s. This was $15 million to be spread over five years, $3 million per year. The first $3 million is available for spending in the 19/20 long bill budget. Then, in the 2018/2019 budget, the over-estimate happened again, this time by $16 million. The 2020/2021 Governor’s budget allocated $3 million of that $16 million to the General Fund, leaving $13 million allocated to the AAA’s on top of the previous $15 million. There is considerable discussion occurring about how best to use that $13 million, including possible statutory changes to allow the money to be spent on one-time AAA capital and infrastructure projects.
Nina spoke about two pieces of legislation of interest to our group: a bill to lay out very clearly the criteria for demonstrating need to build a new nursing facility for Medicaid patients. There is currently a moratorium in effect on new nursing facility builds. Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF), as the Medicaid administrator for the state, must authorize new skilled nursing facilities to avoid overbuilding and to ensure that all new facilities meet certain standards in order to allow payment for services by Medicaid.
The other legislation is to eliminate the existing automatic annual increase of 3% to the nursing home payment fund. Opposition from nursing home operators is expected. As far as we know, there are no other automatic annual increases in effect for any other payments, save for some for inflation.
Next meeting is Monday, January 13, 2020. It will be at the Disability Law Colorado Offices – Main Conference Room located at 455 Sherman St, Denver, CO 80203. You can attend in person or call in using Zoom – Get details – CLICK HERE
Thank you all for your participation – Bob
President – Colorado Senior Lobby
303 832 4535