In this Capitol Report:
Update on 2022 Health Care Legislation
The Colorado Chamber’s HealthCare Council held a meeting on Thursday to discuss 2022 health care legislation and heard from Rep. Chris Kennedy, Chair of the House State Affair Committee. Rep. Chris Kennedy also serves as a member on the Health and Insurance Committee and on the Legislative Council.
Rep. Kennedy discussed payment reform legislation that introduces an alternative model for payment in the health care sector. Rep. Kennedy is the primary sponsor for this legislation. Within primary care practices, the legislation works towards a more flexible payment model and to transform the practice’s payment systems. The integration bill includes a $35 million grant program that will help implement these transformations within these primary care practices. Rep. Kennedy told the Council that this legislation will incentivize providers and provide higher levels of care. The budget request for this legislation was approved and the bill is expected to be introduced shortly.
In addition to hosting Rep. Kennedy, the Council discussed HB 1199 and SB 53, which both deal with visitation within health care facilities. HB 1199 requires facilities to allow patients to have visitors under the least restrictive state and local regulations while giving priority to immediate family members and anyone providing religious comfort – overruling any policy the facility has in place to keep their patients and staff safe. The bill also establishes civil penalties for failing to comply. The Chamber took an “opposed” position to HB 1199 in February due to its overly broad nature. The bill is scheduled to be heard in committee next Wednesday (March 16).
SB 53 requires hospitals, nursing care facilities and assisted living residences to allow their patients/residents to have at least one visitor of their choosing. Chamber today unanimously took an “opposed” position on SB 53 based on feedback from hospital members.
The HealthCare Council also discussed several other bills and took varying positions, including:
- SB 40: Monitor. The bill creates a process for an actuarial review of bills that create health benefit mandates. The Chamber previously took a position of support, but the bill was recently amended and watered down.
- HB 1285: Oppose. Prohibits hospitals from taking certain debt collection actions against a patient if the hospital is not in compliance with hospital price transparency laws.
- HB 1198: Monitor. The bill imposes certain requirements on any organization that operates a medical expense sharing program. It’s scheduled for Senate Health and Insurance later this month.
What We’re Watching: HB 1152
Last month, a bill was filed in the General Assembly that would prohibit employers from taking adverse actions against employees for marijuana use.
If passed, House Bill 1152 would mean employers would not be able to refuse employment, fire workers, refuse to promote or to demote employees due to their marijuana use. It applies to employees who have been found using medical marijuana during working hours as well as using recreational marijuana off the job
The bill has raised significant concerns from businesses across the state, especially in professions where employees operate dangerous machinery daily. Employers worry the bill could lead to risk of injury to not only those operating dangerous equipment, but to other employees in the workplace as well. The Colorado Chamber took an “Opposed” position on the bill, which is similar to a measure that failed to pass the legislature in 2020.
There are exceptions for employers restricting the usage of marijuana by employees if the restriction is reasonably related the workplace responsibilities of the employee, like if they are in a dangerous position. However, exceptions must be decided on a case-by-case basis and cannot be enforced company wide. This presents a significant burden on employers in keeping their workers safe.
There also could be constitutionality issues with the bill. The retail sale and consumption of recreational marijuana was legalized in Colorado in 2012 with Constitutional Amendment 64. A Task Force which was established to implement the amendment specifically clarified that employers have the right to determine their own policies on company marijuana use, including the ability to terminate an employee who may test positive for recreational or medical marijuana use. HB 1152 appears to contradict with the intent of Amendment 64.
HB 1152 has been delayed from being heard in its first committee hearing based on concerns raised by the Colorado Chamber of Commerce and businesses across the state. The sponsor has shared that she will be amending her bill to address those concerns.
REMINDER: Last Chance to Give Your Input on Russia-Ukraine Conflict
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is having significant impacts on the global economy, from supply chain disruptions to inflation.
We’re interested in finding out how this conflict has impacted your day-to-day operations. This brief survey will help the Colorado Chamber inform the public about how the state’s business community has been affected by the ongoing situation.
This survey will take less than 5 minutes. The survey will close on Monday, March 14, at 6 p.m.
American Furniture Warehouse Hosts First 2022 EXECs Tour
The EXECs Advocacy Program kicked-off their first tour at American Furniture Warehouse this week.
The cohort spent the morning with founder and CEO, Jake Jabs and AFW President, Jackie Brookshire. Jake and Jackie discussed the history of American Furniture Warehouse as well marketing strategies, supply chain issues, transportation opportunities, and the secrets to their success.
Next month, the EXECs will travel to Golden for a tour of Molson Coors.