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2023 Legislative Priorities 

The Colorado legislature convened on January 9 for the 2023 session. This session will certainly be one to watch – many issues that average Coloradans face on a daily basis will be addressed under the gold dome. Hot topics include the housing crisis, firearms, environmental issues, and health care. Health care issues, from affordability, to administrative burdens, to intrusions into the physician-patient relationship are expected. CMS tracks issues that affect physicians and their ability to provide safe, effective care for their patients. CMS will continue to advocate on behalf of Colorado physicians and the patients they serve, with a focus on the highlighted issues below.

Prior authorization

Purposeful work has been performed in past legislative sessions regarding prior authorization but there is still more work to do on behalf of Colorado physicians and their patients. Advocating for an environment in which there are less administrative burdens on physicians creates better patient outcomes and improves physician burnout. CMS is tracking and actively working on a number of bills that have or will be considered by the legislature this session, including a prior authorization gold card program, that aim to reduce administrative burdens.

Scope of practice

Ensuring safe, effective care depends upon highly trained, multi-disciplinary clinical teams led by physicians that work closely together. Bills that would inappropriately expand the scope of practice for certain health care providers will be considered during the 2023 legislative session. Specifically, for the third year in a row, physician assistants (PA) are seeking to expand their scope. Over the past year, CMS has continued to meet with PAs to address some of their concerns, while reinforcing our opposition to independent practice. CMS is also working closely with the Colorado Psychiatric Society and the unified House of Medicine on a bill that seeks to provide psychologists with prescriptive authority for psychotropic drugs.

Physician and patient relationships

It continues to be critical that we support Coloradans’ right to access needed medical care, support physicians’ ability to practice medicine, respect medical decision-making that occurs in the context of the patient-physician relationship, and support individuals and families in order to promote the health, wellbeing, and autonomy of all Coloradans. CMS opposes any intrusion in the practice of medicine or inference by the government in the exam room.

Workforce challenges

The pandemic has exacerbated long-standing workforce shortage problems. Funding must be used wisely to address immediate needs and lay the foundation for a more robust, resilient, and diverse health care workforce for Colorado’s future.

Medical liability

At press time, CMS is currently unaware of any possible bills that would threaten medical liability in Colorado this session. CMS is always on the lookout for threats to Colorado’s stable medical liability climate that stand in the way of physicians’ ability to do their jobs and serve their patients. CMS works on this issue very closely with COPIC and other strategic partners across the House of Medicine and beyond.  We are carefully tracking and assessing impacts and possible next steps given the recent passage of medical liability tort reforms in California. CMS stands against efforts to destabilize the current medical liability stability.

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