Colorado bill would put HCPF in charge of transportation of IDD individuals

Representatives Alex Valdez and Colin Larson are sponsoring HB 21-1206 to prevent a potential loss of transportation services for Coloradans with intellectual or developmental disabilities (IDDs). Currently, the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has jurisdiction over non-medical, non-emergency transportation services for this population. According to the sponsors, the commission has established insufficient, hard-to-meet directives for those who provide these services, which fail to sufficiently support IDD individuals.

 

 

Valdez introduced the bill in the House Health and Insurance Committee on Tuesday:

“These are people who provide some necessary transportation to folks that really can’t drive themselves, folks that may or may not be able to use public transportation. [This is] essential transportation to make sure our IDD community can get to appointments, they can get to the store, they can get to their place of employment — these are critical services.”

This bill would transfer authority over these services to the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF), a department which Larson says is a “natural fit” and can provide these needed services much more effectively.

Valdez said PUC enforces stringent requirements on individuals who transport members of the IDD community. These requirements are often not designed to meet the needs of IDD individuals and are difficult for transporters to meet, which might result in them leaving their job. This bill would prevent the consequential lack of transportation services for individuals that often can’t travel without assistance.

Valdez explained:

“Right now, folks who provide transportation for the IDD community and seek Medicaid reimbursement are running into a bit of a challenge, where they’re finding that some of the PUC directives that have been implemented around these types of transportation services really don’t fit the needs of their industry specifically.”

As an example, Larson said sometimes the PUC’s directives would require insufficient vans for facilities serving many IDD individuals.

Valdez  said PUC usually oversees larger transportation areas such as trucking. They lack some of the experience and knowledge that HCPF has with regards to the transportation of individuals with IDD. By assuming leadership of these services, HCPF can create standards of transportation that are doable and tailored to meet the needs of these individuals.

Valdez closed his remarks by urging committee members to pass the bill:

“A vote ‘yes’ today is a vote for the IDD community to remain mobile, to keep folks that are already providing these services within the industry and to modernize the way that we modernize and regulate providers of transportation for our IDD communities.”

The members ultimately granted his request, voting the bill out of committee. It now awaits further consideration in the House Appropriations Committee.