|Governor John Hickenlooper signs the Behavioral Health bills.||CDHS Executive Director Reggie Bicha addresses the importance of the Elder Abuse Bill for Colorado’s senior citizens.||Governor John Hickenlooper signs the Elder Abuse bill.|
On May 16, two Behavioral Health bills and an Elder Abuse bill were signed into law.
The Behavioral Health bills include a statewide comprehensive crisis response system and the creation of a task force which will work on the consolidation of the state’s three civil commitment statutes.
“These pieces of legislation will improve Colorado’s behavioral health system and help us to improve the safety of individuals and our communities by providing the right services, to the right people at the right time,” said Colorado Department of Human Services Executive Director Reggie Bicha.
The bills include:
Senate Bill 13-266 – Creates a coordinated behavioral health care crisis response system including; 24- hour crisis hotline providing one number for all Coloradans to use; new 24/7 walk-in crisis stabilization facilities for urgent mental health services and supports including assessments, counseling, stabilization and referrals; mobile crisis response services to initiate timely responses to behavioral health crises; residential respite care services including short-term crisis residential services and community living arrangements; and a statewide awareness campaign to direct individuals as to how they can receive help. The legislation also codifies the definition of crisis intervention services.
House Bill 13-1296 – Creates a task force to determine how to consolidate the statutes concerning civil commitments while ensuring protections for people with severe mental health illness and substance abuse emergencies, and the community as a whole, while also better protecting civil liberties of the affected individuals. The task force will include 30 members including representation by: behavioral health providers; facilities providing behavioral health care; legal representatives for consumers; consumer advocates; law enforcement; legal system; and legislators. This legislation also creates a definition of danger to self or others and clarifies the definition of gravely disabled. Implementation of the changes to the civil commitment definitions is not effective until July 1, 2014, allowing time to train providers and implement the strengthened crisis delivery system.
The Elder Abuse bill will help protect Colorado’s senior citizens. The legislation will require certain professionals who witness or suspect the abuse, neglect or exploitation of any Coloradan over 70 years of age to report to law enforcement within 24 hours of their observation of the incident.
“This legislation will help protect our seniors and will put Colorado in line with national elder abuse and neglect reporting standards,” said Colorado Department of Human Services Executive Director Reggie Bicha.
Senate Bill 13-111 – The legislation requires mandatory reporters - who observe, or reasonably suspect the abuse, neglect or exploitation of a person who is 70+ years of age to report their observations to a law enforcement agency within 24 hours. A mandatory reporter who fails to report commits a class three misdemeanor. The legislation will also require that within 24 hours of receiving a report of abuse or exploitation of an at-risk elder, a law enforcement agency will notify the at-risk elder’s county Department of Human Services and District Attorney’s office of the report. This legislation provides immunity for good faith reporting of suspected abuse and neglect. Finally, this legislation provides $3.3 million in new funding for counties to reduce caseloads as well as funding for counties to increase services for at-risk adults.
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May 06, 2013 Child Welfare Committee Meetings
January 18, 2013 2013 CDHS Joint Budget Committee Presentations
June 21, 2012 Colorado Department of Human Services
January 03, 2012 CDHS Strategic Plan