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February 27, 2024

Bills to Save Coloradans Money on Prescription Drugs, Prevent Violence Against Health Care Workers Pass Committee

DENVER, CO – The House Health & Human Services Committee today passed two bills to improve health care in Colorado. HB24-1010 would streamline prescription drug access for Coloradans with chronic, complex, rare, or life-threatening medical conditions and save them money on life-saving prescription drugs. HB24-1066 would help prevent workplace violence against nurses, CNAs and other health care workers. 

“Health care decisions should be based on the health and safety of a patient, not dictated by profits for health care insurers,” said Rep. Iman Jodeh, D-Aurora, sponsor of HB24-1010. “Doctors are sometimes required to order medications for their patients through specific pharmacies, which leads to delays in care and additional costs. Our legislation saves Coloradans money on these medications and breaks down prescription drug access barriers to ensure that Coloradans can access the medication they need, when they need it.”

HB24-1010, also sponsored by Rep. Matt Soper, R-Delta, passed by a vote of 9-3. The bill would protect Coloradans’ access to critical provider-administered

prescription drugs by breaking down unnecessary barriers, including added fees, that make it difficult for patients to access their life-saving medication. The bill would:

  • Prohibit insurance carriers from requiring certain prescription drugs to be available only by specific pharmacies, or only at in-network pharmacies,

  • Prevent insurance carriers from limiting or excluding provider-administered prescription drugs due to the patient’s choice of preferred pharmacy, or

  • Prohibit insurance carriers from imposing additional fees, copayments, or coinsurance due to the patient’s choice of preferred pharmacy or if the provider-administered drug was not provided by a pharmacy in the carrier’s network.

“Violence in the workplace should never be tolerated, and we’re stepping up to help protect our valued health care workers,” said Rep. Eliza Hamrick, D-Centennial, sponsor of HB24-1066. “With verbal and physical aggression against our health care workers on the rise, this bill establishes procedures and protocols to prevent these instances and creates proper channels for reporting. No one should feel unsafe while on the job, and this bill works to protect our health care workers from violence.” 

“The majority of health care workers are reporting an increase in verbal abuse and physical aggression while they’re on the job,” said Rep. Lorena Garcia, D-Unincorporated Adams County, sponsor HB24-1066. “This bill takes the necessary steps to protect our health care workers from violence by incorporating evidence-based solutions, such as reporting channels and dedicated worker safety plans in facilities, to curb violence. Our health care workers have worked tirelessly the past few years to keep Coloradans safe and healthy, and this legislation is a step in the right direction to keep them safe from violence in the workplace.” 

HB24-1066, passed by a vote of 12 to 1 and would work to protect health care staff from violence. This bill would require facilities, such as hospitals, nursing care facilities and assisted living residences, among others to establish a workplace violence prevention committee that documents and reviews violent incidents, develops and implements prevention plans for their employees, offers

immediate post-incident services, and submits biannual incident reports to the Department of Public Health and Environment or the Behavioral Health Administration.

The bill specifies that facilities must not discourage staff from reporting incidents to law enforcement. It also protects health care workers who choose to either report a workplace violence incident, advise a staff member of the right to report, or choose not to report an incident. HB24-1066 intends to curb the increase in violence against health care workers, including verbal aggression and physical violence. Health care workers are 5-times more likely to experience violence at the workplace compared to other workers.

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