This edition features Rep. Michaelson Jenet’s health policy plans for the 2023 session, the Colorado Hospital Association’s legislative priorities for next year, and information about the recently released Alzheimer’s State Plan.
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State of Reform
1. Rep. Michaelson Jenet’s 2023 priorities
With the legislative session starting next month, House health committee Chair Rep. Dafna Michaelson Jenet is preparing the legislation she wants to advance in the 2023 session. She told State of Reform that in addition to monitoring the financial impacts of previously passed policy, she plans to sponsor a bill to cover comprehensive biomarker testing as part of cancer treatment planning.
Continuing her ongoing work to improve the state’s behavioral health system, Michaelson Jenet also plans to sponsor a bill that would allow public schools and students/parents to opt in to receive school-based mental health evaluations. She emphasized that this bill builds off of the I Matter program, which provides up to six free therapy sessions for over 2,400 students across the state.
2. CHA outlines legislative agenda for next year
Colorado Hospital Association Vice President of Legislative Affairs Joshua Ewing recently told State of Reform the organization is focused on two main areas heading into 2023: workforce support measures and streamlining health system-related regulatory statutes. He highlighted the tremendous financial strains that hospitals endured in the past year while continuing to deliver around cost saving measures for Colorado patients.
One of the measures CHA is prioritizing is expanding remote patient monitoring so that more rural providers can be reimbursed for administering follow-ups with the help of technology, a policy Ewing says would address both access and workforce shortages in areas of the state where both are lacking. CHA is also focused on eliminating duplicative regulatory processes, such as the now-redundant Hospital Charge Report requirement.
3. What They’re Watching: Adela Flores-Brennan, Medicaid Director
In this edition of “What They’re Watching,” we talked to Colorado’s Medicaid Director Adela Flores Brennan about what she’s prioritizing as the leader of the state’s healthcare safety net program for vulnerable Coloradans. Among her main focus areas are increasing oral health access in the state and continuing the state’s preparation for the upcoming end of the public health emergency.
“There’s [also] these really large scale initiatives that are being funded through the American Rescue Plan, and those are really going to help us transform our behavioral health system in coordination with the behavioral health authority and also do a lot of work on our home and community based programs.”
4. CDPHE releases Alzheimer’s State Plan
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment released its Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias State Plan last month, detailing the state’s roadmap for supporting individuals struggling with dementia-related issues over the next five years. Key provisions include raising public awareness, providing resources for early detection of Alzheimer’s, and bolstering the healthcare workforce that serves this population.
CDPHE developed the plan by working with an advisory committee comprised of 16 multi-sector member organizations, with an emphasis on community input. “The plan includes a needed public education component to help families recognize the signs of Alzheimer’s, realizing that half of all cases of Alzheimer’s are never diagnosed,” the Alzheimer’s Association of Colorado told State of Reform when asked about the plan. CHI also released policy recommendations that go hand-in-hand with the report.
5. Rx importation plan sent to FDA
HCPF submitted its Prescription Drug Importation Program proposal to the FDA for approval last week. The move comes after the agency finalized contracts with the Canadian prescription drug seller (AdiraMedica), the US-based importer (Premier Pharmaceuticals), and the drug safety regulator (Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Safety) for the program in September.
“This exciting step means we are closer to savings for Coloradans as we continue to take bold action to make prescription drugs and health care more affordable,” Gov. Polis said in a statement. “Now all we need is FDA approval and Coloradans will start saving money!” The FDA now has six months to review the proposal and issue a decision. Once approved, the program could become operational in late 2023, according to HCPF.