House Health Committee Approves Buentello Bill to Tackle Opioid Addiction

Buentello’s bill to help increase child care options in the state also on the move

(Mar. 22) – The House Public Health and Human Services committee approved a bill sponsored by Rep. Bri Buentello, D-Pueblo, that would expand a Medication-assisted Treatment (MAT) pilot program that is currently only offered in Pueblo and Routt Counties. This expansion would add another ten counties across the state to the program.

“This is a bill that is about saving lives and helping Coloradans who are struggling in the midsts of the opioid epidemic to get the treatment they need,” said Rep. Buentello. “Two years ago, the legislature created the pilot MAT program. We saw how well that program worked, so it’s time to expand this program to help those in Southern Colorado.”

SB17-074 created a two year MAT expansion program through the University of Colorado’s College of Nursing to expand access to medication-assisted treatment to opioid-dependent patients. It also provided behavioral therapies in conjunction with medication as part of the provision.

SB19-001 would expand the program to make it available to counties in Southern Colorado, including Alamosa, Conejos, Costilla, Custer, Huerfano, Mineral, Rio Grande, and Sagauche, and two additional counties who demonstrate a need. It also increases the appropriation for the pilot program to $5 million for the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 fiscal years. Finally, it extends the program for another two years.

The bill passed out of the House Public Health and Human Services committee by a bipartisan vote of 10-1. It now heads to the House Appropriations committee.

Rep. Buentello’s other bill passed out of the House Public Health and Human Services committee, with Rep. Alex Valdez, D-Denver, as the co-prime. This bill requires consensus-based recommendations to the legislature and other boards and commissions to remedy the shortage of licensed, safe and affordable childcare options in the state.

SB19-063 passed unanimously and now heads to House Appropriations committee.

Leave a Reply