by Jennifer Armstrong, Program Manager, Government Affairs and Communications
Featured in the February-March-April 2023 Colorado Medicine Colorado Medicine.
The Colorado legislature convened on Jan. 9 for the 2023 session. This session has been extraordinarily busy, focusing on the issues average Coloradans face daily. Health care issues – from affordability to administrative burdens to scope of practice – were anticipated and, as expected, these issues have been brought to the legislature for consideration. The CMS Council on Legislation has met weekly throughout session and has taken position on 16 bills as of this publication. To keep up to date on the Council’s positions, visit www.cms.org/advocacy/bill-tracker.
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 fewer administrative burdens on physicians creates better patient outcomes and improves physician wellbeing. CMS is working with the rest of the House of Medicine on one bill to further reduce prior authorization hassles and is tracking other bills to reduce administrative burden. Watch for more details.
To aid in the work of reducing administrative burdens on Colorado physicians, CMS has initiated a campaign, Health Can’t Wait Colorado, with the purpose of sharing patient stories and furthering the urgency that prior authorization delays needed care. What’s your story? We need to hear from patients. Encourage yours to share how bureaucratic hassles are preventing them from getting the care they need by going to https://healthcantwaitco.org/.
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 have been considered during the 2023 legislative session and CMS is working closely with the House of Medicine to oppose or amend them.
- HB23-1071 Licensed Psychologist Prescriptive Authority
CMS, with the Colorado Psychiatric Society, the American Academy of Pediatrics - Colorado Chapter and a unified House of Medicine, worked on changes to HB23-1071 that will provide psychologists with prescriptive authority for psychotropic drugs. As a solid front we successfully achieved amendments that provide guardrails for patient safety and care. The amendments include more education and practicum experience, specialized training for pediatrics and geriatrics, better medical board oversight, and most important, physician collaboration and approval of prescriptions provided by psychologists.
Current status as of publication: Passed the House and Senate with amendments; heading to the governor.
Council on Legislation position: Amend
- SB23-083 – Physician Assistant Collaboration
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.
Current status as of publication: Introduced in the House
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.
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 opposes efforts to destabilize the current medical liability stability.
A host of other issues have been or are expected to be introduced on a wide range of topics: hospital facility fees, prescription drug costs, revising the Colorado Option and Prescription Drug Affordability Board bills from two years ago, opioid epidemic responses, and single payer studies, to name a few. Watch for the latest updates in Policy Pulse, the CMS member e-newsletter that provides breaking news about policy action under the Golden Dome.