Legislative update

Saturday, March 01, 2014 11:12 AM
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Legislative Update

Action picking up as General Assembly hits halfway point

Susan Koontz, JD, CMS General Counsel

The 2014 Regular Session of the Colorado General Assembly has reached the halfway point, and action is picking up at the Capitol. The Colorado Medical Society is tracking more than 40 bills this session to ensure legislation benefits physicians professionally and helps improve the health and wellness of Colorado patients. With staff support, the CMS Council on Legislation (COL) reviews each bill to understand its intent, its possible outcomes and the political landscape to collectively determine how and at what level CMS should engage.

Below are a handful of bills of particular interest to CMS members and supporters. Some have been drafted and introduced successfully thanks to the deep involvement of many CMS physicians and staff through task forces and stakeholder meetings convened by CMS-friendly legislators.

Supported by COL
HB14-1054: Restrict Minors Access Artificial Tanning Devices
This bill restricts the use of artificial tanning devices for minors under the age of 18. The COL voted to support the bill. As of publication, the bill passed the House, helped by testimony from CMS Past-president Jan Kief, MD, and has been assigned to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.

HB14-1207: Household Medication Take-back Program
This bill requires the executive director of the Department of Public Health and Environment to establish a household medication take-back program to collect and dispose of unused household medications – an important action in the effort to reduce the abuse of prescription drugs. The program allows individuals to dispose of unused medications at approved collection sites, and for carriers to transport unused medications from approved collection sites to disposal locations. The bill specifies that collection sites, carriers and disposal locations that act in good faith are not subject to liability for incidents arising from the collection, transport or disposal of medications.

The COL voted to support the bill with the recommendation from the CMS Prescription Drug Abuse Committee, finding it in line with CMS policies on reducing prescription drug abuse in Colorado.

HB14-1283: Modify Prescription Drug Monitoring Program
This bill was introduced in the House in mid-February and assigned to the House Health, Insurance and Environment Committee. It makes the following modifications to the electronic prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP):

  • Allows physicians or pharmacists to delegate query tasks to registered delegates;
  • Provides unsolicited reports to notify prescribers and pharmacists of potential problems;
  • Requires PDMP registration of physicians, but not mandatory use;
  • Allows use of PDMP data for public health reporting and health care coordination; and
  • Requires daily uploading of data from pharmacies to the PDMP system, which is an administrative change from the current two-week requirement.

The COL and CMS Prescription Drug Abuse Committee also voted to support this bill.  CMS physicians and staff have been an integral part of the Colorado Consortium on Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention that made the recommendations that are outlined in the bill, demonstrating the influence of CMS in the statewide effort to reduce prescription drug abuse.

As of publication, the bill passed the House Health Committee with Patricia VanDevander, MD, providing expert testimony.

SB14-18: Prohibit Nicotine Product Distribution to Minors and HB-1263: Tobacco Products Under 21
Under current law, it is illegal to furnish tobacco products to individuals younger than 18 years of age. This bill expands the prohibition to include all nicotine products and makes other conforming amendments concerning the liquor enforcement division’s enforcement of the law.

The COL supports this bill.

HB14-1278: Sunset Workers’ Compensation Physician Accreditation Program
This bill implements the recommendations of the sunset review and report on the workers’ compensation accreditation program (WCAP) for medical professionals, administered by the Division of Workers’ Compensation in the Department of Labor and Employment by continuing the program until 2025, and allowing the division to set fees for WCAP training programs and materials administratively rather than specifying the amount of the fees in statute.

The COL supports this bill.

Opposed by COL
HB14-1068: Mandatory Physician Reporting of Patients to the Department of Revenue with Medical Conditions That Make Driving Dangerous
This bill would have required a physician to report a patient to the state for any conditions that compromise their ability to drive a vehicle – “loss, interruption or lapse of consciousness or motor function” – imposing both criminal and civil penalties for failure to report. The bill also would have removed physician immunity for reporting to the DMV thereby exposing physicians to liability by third parties.

COL opposed the bill and CMS President-elect Tamaan Osbourne-Roberts, MD, and COMPAC Chair David Ross, DO, offered strong testimony against it in February before the House Health, Insurance and Environment Committee. After a strong lobbying effort by CMS and others, the committee voted to postpone indefinitely the legislation, effectively killing the bill.

SB14-128: Modify Naturopathic Doctor Act
This bill allows a naturopathic doctor (ND) who does not satisfy the education and examination requirements determined last year by HB13-1111 but who holds an active certification in good standing from the American Naturopathic Medical Certification Board to obtain a state-issued ND registration. The bill also eliminates the ability of an ND to dispense, administer, order or prescribe medicines or to perform minor office procedures. And the bill increases the size of the naturopathic medicine advisory committee from nine to 11 members by adding three ANMCB-certified and state-registered NDs to the committee and eliminating one member who is a doctor of medicine or osteopathy.

The COL strongly opposed this bill and as a result of the advocacy of CMS and its allies, the bill was postponed indefinitely in the Senate Health Committee.

The fight against SB14-128 and the next bill in this summary, SB14-32, are part of CMS’ continuing effort against unsafe scope of practice legislation that threatens public health and the safety of Colorado patients.

SB14-32: Naturopath Providers Treat Children
Current law prohibits complementary and alternative health care practitioners and registered NDs from treating children under two years of age, and requires those providers to obtain parental consent and make specified disclosures to parents before treating a child two years of age or older but less than eight years of age. The bill repeals the restrictions on the ability of alternative health care providers to treat children of any age.

This bill passed out of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee in late February. The COL strongly opposes this bill.

The Colorado Medical Society continually demonstrates influence at the Capitol thanks to strong lobbying efforts and through the engagement and involvement of dedicated physicians on the Council on Legislation.

Active involvement in advocacy is crucial to Colorado physicians and patients, and CMS encourages anyone interested to get involved. Go to www.cms.org/advocacy for more information.


Posted in: Colorado Medicine | Legislative Updates | Initiatives | Advocacy


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