April 3, 2023
General Assembly Newsletter
Stay up-to-date on what's new at the Department of Health Care Policy & Financing (HCPF) with our newsletter created specifically for the Colorado General Assembly.
Editor's Note
This newsletter is published monthly while the legislature is in session, and quarterly outside of the legislative session. The next edition will be published at the end of April.   
Please continue to direct any questions or constituent issues to HCPF's legislative team:

A Message from Executive Director Kim Bimestefer 
Kim Bimestefer

HCPF has been working tirelessly across many stakeholders, readying the state for the end of the public health emergency, and especially the end of continuous coverage. This month, HCPF, in collaboration with our county partners, will begin sending renewal notices and related information to all Health First Colorado (Colorado’s Medicaid program) and Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) members scheduled for renewal in May. The renewal redetermination process will continue month by month, for the next 14 months through April 2024 for all 1.75 million members.
Work with our federal partners at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has intensified in tandem for HCPF and for all state Medicaid programs nationally. Notably, CMS has established criteria that states must meet to continue to be eligible for enhanced federal matching funds through the end of December 2023. This enhanced match follows the 6.2% enhanced match in place from January 2020 through March 1, 2023, and includes 5.0% for calendar year Q2, 2.5% for Q3 and 1.5% for Q4 2023. CMS confirmed this week that HCPF is indeed fully compliant, that we do not have to implement mitigation steps as other states do, and that we are eligible for continued 2023 enhanced federal matching funds.
We invite you to take comfort in the fact that Colorado continues to lead other states in our readiness for this transition in coverage, estimated at more than 325,000 Coloradans. Our primary goal is to Keep Coloradans Covered through a two-pronged approach: (1) helping members who continue to be eligible for our programs stay enrolled, while (2) connecting disenrolling members to affordable coverage. Thank you in advance for being a part of our collaborative, united effort to achieve this shared goal across state agencies, health care providers, contracted partners, community partners, counties, regional accountable entities (RAEs), Connect for Health Colorado, consumer advocates, health plans and more.
As part of this effort to Keep Coloradans Covered, we ask for your active engagement:
  1. At every touchpoint and opportunity, please remind Health First Colorado and CHP+ members to take action. Please display this flyer (in English and Spanish) in areas of your organization frequented by members, patients or the public. The flyer includes what members need to do and how to do it. This link also includes KeepCOCovered awareness posters, social media images, virtual backgrounds and signature tags to assist in your organization’s engagement efforts. Find more at KeepCOCovered.com.
  2. Please help connect those Coloradans who no longer qualify for our programs to alternative, affordable forms of health coverage such as employer-sponsored, Medicare, individual or family coverage and subsidies through Connect for Health Colorado, a spouse's coverage, or parental coverage for those up to age 26. Find tools to accomplish this shared goal and more at KeepCOCovered.com.
As you converse with members/patients, please communicate that the most important thing members can do right now is to update their mailing address, email and phone numbers and sign up for electronic notifications by visiting CO.gov/PEAK. Members who are having trouble accessing PEAK can call the PEAK Help Desk (800-250-7741). County human services departments can also help members update their information; however, members are likely to experience extended hold times, which is why we are recommending the use of PEAK. Second, remind members/patients to look for, complete and sign their Medicaid and CHP+ renewal packets. Members who receive a renewal packet must return it by the deadlines listed within this important renewal communication. The renewal packet will be sent electronically or through the mail in an envelope with red lettering reading - “URGENT - PLEASE REPLY” - to indicate the importance of the required, time-sensitive member action. For more information and videos in English and Spanish about the renewal process, please visit HealthFirstColorado.com/renewals. While about 70% of our members will need to take these actions, about 30% of our members will be automatically renewed without action due to our automation enhancements completed in the last year.
Last, please remind your members/patients to start exploring alternative coverage courses early if they think they will no longer qualify for our safety net coverages, and not to leave this exploration to the last minute.
We appreciate your continued partnership in helping Keep Coloradans Covered as the public health emergency and the continuous coverage provision come to an end. For more information about the renewal process and frequently asked questions visit KeepCOCovered.com. The website includes information and links to numerous resources for stakeholders and community partners to help our members, and a virtual background and email signature to help get out the message. Additionally:
HCPF 2023 Legislative Agenda
HCPF has introduced seven agenda bills this session:

HB23-1040Prader-Willi Syndrome would make a technical change to statute by removing outdated and inconsistent language related to Prader-Willi Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that results in a number of physical, mental and behavioral complications. The bill was signed by Lieutenant Governor Primavera on March 31.

HB23-1201 Prescription Drug Benefits Contract Term Requirements would require that the amount charged by a Pharmacy Benefits Manager or health insurance carrier to the employer, certificate holder, or policyholder for a prescription drug be equal to or less than the amount paid by the PBM or carrier to the contracted pharmacy for the drug. The bill was introduced on Feb. 15 and heard by the House Health & Insurance Committee on March 17. It passed 10-1 and was referred, as amended, to the House Appropriations Committee.

HB23-1228 Nursing Facility Reimbursement Rate Setting would implement HCPF’s recommendations from the November 2022 Nursing Facility Reimbursement Recommendations Report and ensure the nursing facility industry continues to move forward with innovative practices aimed at improving their long-term sustainability. The bill was introduced on March 3 and was heard by the House Public & Behavioral Health & Human Services Committee on March 21. It passed 11-0 and was referred, as amended, to the House Finance Committee where it will be heard on April 3.

SB23-182Temporary Suspension of Medicaid Requirements would ensure HCPF has the necessary state authority to continue to access federal funding related to COVID-19 response and recovery activities for the 14-month period after the end of the PHE. This bill was introduced on March 9 and was heard by the Senate Appropriations Committee on March 17, where it passed 7-0. It was referred to the Committee of the Whole with a recommendation that it be placed on the consent calendar.

HB23-1243Hospital Community Benefit would clarify submission requirements for hospital transparency reporting to help capture more and better data so hospitals can be evaluated for what they are investing in and how that aligns with the needs of their communities. It would enhance public meeting compliance requirements for hospitals as well as clearly define what the state considers community investment. It would also establish priority areas for community investment and require hospitals to invest a minimum percentage of monies into those key areas. The bill was introduced on March 11 and was heard by the House Public & Behavioral Health & Human Services Committee on March 29. It passed 8-3 and was referred, as amended, to the Committee of the Whole.

SB23-222Medicaid Pharmacy And Outpatient Services Co-payment, a companion bill to HCPF’s R-7 Provider Rate Adjustments budget request, would grant HCPF authority to eliminate co-pays for most Medicaid benefits. The bill was heard by the Senate Appropriations Committee on March 28. It passed 7-0 and was referred to the Committee of the Whole.

SB23-223Medicaid Provider Rate Review Process (MPRRAC) would support the JBC in enabling targeted Medicaid provider rate adjustments more frequently – every three years instead of every five. The bill was heard by the Senate Appropriations Committee on March 28. It passed 7-0 and was referred to the Committee of the Whole.

Community First Choice (CFC) & 1915 (c) Waiver Statute Changes - Community First Choice (CFC) is an optional program under the State Plan that allows states to offer Health First Colorado members a package of services on a state-wide basis to members who meet institutional level of care. These services will assist in accomplishing activities of daily living (ADLs), instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs), and health-related tasks including personal emergency response for individuals who require assistance. Select services that assist members with ADLs, IADLs, and health-related tasks that are currently offered through Colorado’s 1915 (c) waivers will be offered under Community First Choice after implementation. This bill removes these services from the waiver and changes eligibility for services to match Community First Choice/federal law. 

HCPF Access to Colorado Prescription Drug Monitoring (PDMP) Data would allow HCPF access to PDMP Medicaid members’ data to ensure appropriate prescribing and detect misuse/overutilization of controlled substances. The Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) collects information on all controlled substance prescriptions dispensed in the state of Colorado. Current statute limits access to the reporting data to practitioners providing care, pharmacists, law enforcement, the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment, and medical examiners/coroners, with no pathway for access by HCPF for Medicaid members’ data.

You can read more on our Legislative Agenda.
Medicaid Renewal – Partner Communication Toolkits and Resources
HCPF has been working with stakeholders and partners to develop a series of communication resources to prepare members for the return to normal renewal processes. All member-facing resources are available in English and Spanish.

The Take Action on Your Renewal toolkit launched in February 2023. The materials in this toolkit are designed to encourage members to look for their renewal packet in the mail and PEAK mailbox and take action when they get it. Included: website & newsletter text, social media, direct-to-member email and text messaging communications, & downloadable, customizable flyers.

The Preparing for Renewals toolkit includes renewal process education for partners assisting members in completing their renewals. Included: key terms, sample notices, & short videos in English and Spanish on key actions: updating an address, completing the renewal process, and transitioning to other coverage if a member no longer qualifies. 

We know members may have moved over the past few years. It is crucial that we have correct addresses so that members get the information they need to keep or change their coverage. Update Your Address messaging is available in the top 11 languages.

As we return to normal renewal processes, our united goal is to #KeepCOCovered. Additional partner resources, including a flyer, website, email and social media messaging can be found at KeepCOCovered.com
Join Us on April 12: Maternal Health Equity Report Presentation and Discussion
Join HCPF, policy leaders, members, and advocates for an event about improving birth outcomes and addressing health disparities.

Policy leaders will present data from the Maternal Health Equity Report on Medicaid-covered births in 2020.

Maternal and child health policymakers, providers and stakeholders will weigh in on the challenges and proposed solutions in this space. The event will also include a dynamic discussion about members and their experience navigating care.
Event Details:

Date: Wednesday, April 12
Time: 2 to 3:30 p.m. 
Location: Online Zoom Room 

Meeting accommodation and language access notice:
Auxiliary aids and services for individuals with disabilities and language services for individuals whose first language is not English may be provided upon request. Please notify Trish Grodzicki at Trish Grodzicki or the 504/ADA Coordinator at hcpf504ada@state.co.us at least one week prior to the meeting to make arrangements.
Colorado’s Accountable Care Collaborative
Thank you to the House Joint Health Committees for attending HCPF’s presentation on the ACC 3.0 Update. You can find the slides from the presentation on HCPF’s website.
FY 2022-23 Legislative Requests for Information Reports
HCPF has submitted eight LRFIs to the General Assembly this year. You can find them all on HCPF’s website.
County-By-County Resources
These county fact sheets provide an annual snapshot by fiscal year for Health First Colorado (Colorado’s Medicaid Program) activity, including average annual caseload and top five claim types for each county.
Legislator Resource Center 
TheLegislator Resource Centeron our website is available to help legislators and legislative staff easily find information. It includes links to reports, fact sheets and overviews of the budget process to help inform legislators. 

We invite legislators and legislative staff to follow us on social media to stay informed of news and happenings at HCPF. For the 2023 legislative session we are posting daily HCPF 101 facts to help you learn more about the services we provide, our members and the ways we work to keep Coloradans healthy. You can follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Follow HCPF on Social Media
We invite legislators to follow us on social media to stay informed of news and happenings at HCPF. You can follow us on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.