Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed SB19-234 into law on May 16, reenacting the body of law governing professional review. Plaintiff attorneys engaged in a session-long campaign to breach the privileged nature of professional review activities, and at times threatened to persuade legislators to allow this vital body of patient safety law to lapse under the state’s sunset review process. CMS, COPIC, CHA, and specialty and component medical societies joined forces in a strategic coalition that was well coordinated and executed throughout the session to ensure they were not successful. Significantly, the law renews the Professional Review Act for 11 years and maintains the professional review privilege for all documents and information privileged under the current law.

“A lot of work was done on this bill to get physicians, trial lawyers, medical liability insurers, all by and large in agreement,” Gov. Polis said. “The professional review process is really important for protecting consumers from harm, for professional conduct, and for quality and appropriateness of care for physicians and physician assistants.”

“We all know that the physician-patient relationship is an intimate one and these committees make sure patients get the best care and can trust medical professionals, and that the medical profession has best practices they can follow when taking care of everybody,” he said.

Also signed into law was SB19-073, which creates a statewide system of advance medical directives that allows qualified professionals to upload an individual’s advance health care directive upon his or her request. The directive can contain medical orders for scope of treatment, a declaration as to medical treatment, a directive relating to cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or a medical durable power of attorney.

The Northern Colorado Medical Society (NCMS) has worked on this concept for serveral years with bill sponsor Sen. Joann Ginal (D-Fort Collins). Shown in the photo above are (from left) Lt. Gov. Dianne Primavera; Fort Collins family physician Cory Carroll, MD; Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, Northern Colorado IPA President Jan Gillespie, MD; and Ginal. 

"This law creates a statewide registry for advance care directives and represents a huge step forward toward helping people have the care that they want at the end of life or when they cannot speak for themselves," Gillespie said. "NCMS has partnered with SOCI [Systems of Care Initiative, a local 501(c)(3) organization] to provide onsite training to medical providers and their staff to assist them in encouraging and enabling their patients of all ages to complete advance care directives. One of NCMS’s goals is to facilitate a cultural change in our community such that having discussions about end-of-life decisions will be acceptable and even routine."

Signed into law on May 23 were a suite of bills to address the opioid epidemic. 

  • HB19-1009: Substance Use Disorders Recovery (Kennedy/Singer - Priola/Pettersen)
  • SB19-008: Substance Use Disorder Treatment In Criminal Justice System (Kennedy/Singer - Priola/Pettersen)
  • SB19-227: Harm Reduction Substance Use Disorders (Kennedy/Herod - Pettersen/Gonzalez)
  • SB19-228: Substance Use Disorders Prevention Measures (Buentello/Singer - Winter/Moreno)
  • SB19-219: Sunset Continue Licensing of Controlled Substances (Gonzalez-Gutierrez - Pettersen)

View an infographic from the Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention for more information about the new laws.

For the past six years, CMS has been working with partners in the Colorado Coalition for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention to develop policies, enact laws and make important strides to reverse the opioid epidemic. All the bills from the Opioid and Other Substance Use Disorders Interim Study Committee were introduced and worked their way through the legislature, as did other opioid-related bills introduced earlier this year. Stakeholders are hopeful these bills will continue to help in the effort to reduce the abuse and misuse of opioids in Colorado.

Categories: Communications, ASAP, Resources, Initiatives, Professional review, Advocacy