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May 5, 2024

House Passes Bills to Increase Access to Health Care

DENVER, CO – The House today passed three pieces of legislation to improve health care access in Colorado. 

SB24-110 sponsored by Representatives Judy Amabile and Emily Siorta, would save Coloradans money on prescription drugs. SB24-034, sponsored by Representatives Mandy Lindsay and Lorena Garcia, would expand the existing School-Based Health Center Grant Program to include telehealth services and mobile health units. SB24-116, sponsored by Representative Iman Jodeh, would expand health care coverage for low-income patients. 

“Authorization requirements for antipsychotic medications are forcing patients to ration their prescription or skip doses entirely, which can be challenging for their recovery,” said Rep. Judy Amabile, D-Boulder. “This bill importantly removes unnecessary authorization requirements for some antipsychotic medications so Coloradans with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, and other mental health disorders can receive their medications when they need them.” 

“Coloradans with a serious mental health condition don’t have access to the prescription medication they need when they need it due to prior authorization requirements,” said Rep. Emily Siorta, D-Denver. “This bill removes access barriers so Coloradans can receive their antipsychotic prescription on time.”

SB24-110, passed the House by a vote of 57 to 5, and would make it easier for patients to access antipsychotic prescription drugs used to treat a mental illness or disorder like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder without needing prior authorization from the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing. 

“The School-Based Health Center Grant Program will help provide quality health care services to our youth to meet the needs of students in our state,” said Rep. Mandy Lindsay, D-Aurora. “Our bill extends this important program to also include telehealth services so every student seeking care receives it in a convenient way that works for them.” 

“Expanding access to health care is critical, especially for our students and youth,” said Rep. Lorena Garcia, D-Unincorporated Adams County. “This bill expands the School-Based Health Center Grant Program so our students, regardless of their zip code, can receive the medical, behavioral, oral and preventative health care they need.” 

SB24-034 would expand the successful School-Based Health Center Grant Program to include telehealth services and mobile health units and passed the House by a vote of 45 to 17. School-based health centers are located in schools throughout Colorado and provide primary medical and behavioral health care to children and young adults. Under current law, the School-Based Health Center Grant Program supports the establishment, expansion, and ongoing operations of school-based health centers. If passed, SB24-034 would allow this program to work alongside other school-linked programs, such as telehealth and mobile health units. 

“We need to ensure every Coloradan has access to the health care they need, when they need it,” said Rep. Iman Jodeh, D-Aurora. “This bill would expand health care coverage for low-income Coloradans by allowing hospitals to make presumptive eligibility determinations. This will help ensure low-income patients can receive the care they need without having to jump through unnecessary hoops.”  

SB24-116, sponsored by Representative Jodeh, passed by a vote of 46-16 and would expand health care coverage for low-income Coloradans. Specifically, this bill would modify requirements for the presumptive eligibility program and for indigent patients, receiving discounted care under the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF). HCPF and Denver Health are currently the only institutions that can make a presumptive eligibility determination. The bill allows hospitals to make these determinations.

Additionally, the bill makes changes to the requirements for indigent patients receiving health

care discounts on services not reimbursed through the Colorado Indigent Care Program (CICP)


  • requiring a patient to attest to residing in Colorado;

  • placing a price cap on comprehensive bills that aligns with the current caps on individualizes bills;

  • authorizing health-care facilities to deny discounted care to a patient if, during the initial screening, the patient is determined to be presumptively eligible for Medicaid;

  • clarifying that the health professional who provides services is responsible for billing the patient for those services, unless the services are billed on a comprehensive bill;

  • excluding primary care provided in clinics in rural or frontier counties that offer a sliding-fee scale from receiving discounted care.

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