(May 18) – Gov. John Hickenlooper came to Greeley this morning to sign three bills by Rep. Dave Young, D-Greeley, aimed at protecting the health and well-being of Colorado’s most vulnerable citizens.

HB16-1101, signed this morning at Northern Colorado Medical Center, allows a physician to designate another physician to act as a patient’s decision-maker for health care treatment under certain conditions, which will help patients get early and preventative treatment rather than allowing conditions to worsen and become emergencies.

HB16-1394, signed this morning at Monfort Children’s Clinic, implements recommendations of the at-risk adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) task force to help crack down on and prevent the abuse of at-risk persons—those who have additional needs in communication, medical care, maintaining independence or other areas of life.

“This bill does two essential things: clarifies who mandatory reporters of mistreatment of at-risk individuals are and ensures that our statutes are aligned so that we can actually prosecute these crimes,” said Rep. Young. “These folks are more vulnerable to abuse, exploitation, and neglect because they are less able to protect themselves and it’s important for us to be able to do something about it.”

Among its many provisions, this bill expands the possible punishments for crimes against an at-risk person to include the payment of treatment costs and restitution; grants greater flexibility to bank and financial service employees to report mistreatment of an at-risk adult with IDD or elder adults; adds to the list professionals who are encouraged to report mistreatment of at-risk adults; and clarifies that if a county determines an investigation into the mistreatment is needed, the county department of human services or social services must conduct the investigation.

SB16-201, also signed at Monfort Children’s Clinic, will improve the rate-setting process and collaboration between the state and counties for residential treatment programs serving Colorado youth in the child welfare system.

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