From the Capitol – 2023 Legislative Wrap-up

It is important to begin by thanking the dedicated members of the CO ACEP legislative committee and those members who came to the Capitol to testify.  When a Colorado EM physician comes to the Capitol, legislators pay attention.  That said, midnight on Monday, May 8th could not have come soon enough.  The Colorado Constitution grants the Colorado General Assembly 120 days each year to complete the State’s work.  May 8thmarked the 120th day.

Considering the political polarization of this General Assembly, CO ACEP was able to carefully navigate the 680+ bills introduced into this legislative session.  Once again, health care policy was a primary theme, along with TABOR, taxes, housing, guns, abortion, and state versus local control of land use to name a few.  Your CO ACEP identified 73 bills impactful to the practice and profession of emergency medicine and it’s patients.

This session we:

  • Drove amendments ensuring appropriate collaboration between physicians and physician assistants (SB23-083)
  • Responded to the opioid crisis with appropriate treatment for patients with chronic pain (SB23-144)
  • Protected physicians from unnecessary processing fees when being reimbursed for billed claims (HB23-1116)
  • Beat back efforts from trial lawyers that would have increased rates, number of settlements and exposed physicians to personal liability (HB23-1192)
  • Ensured EM physicians were not in put a position to violate EMTALA by being forced to discuss costs of care prior to the provision of emergency care (SB23-093)
  • Successfully advocated to allow EM physicians to petition for an extreme risk protection order (SB23-170)

Our focus has already shifted to preparation for the 2024 legislative session.  As we look forward it is important to remember that the same 100 legislators and first floor participants (aka the Governor and his staff) will be coming back next year, therefore we can expect much of the same. The CO ACEP Board of Directors is actively involved in a coalition to preserve Colorado’s non-economic damages caps which are currently under threat as well as pursuing legislation to remove roadblocks impeding Colorado EM physicians from providing the highest quality care to their patients.

The strength of CO ACEP’s advocacy lies within our members.  If you are interested in shaping the future advocacy of CO ACEP, we encourage you to become involved.  Additionally, I encourage you to contribute $50 to the CO ACEP small donor committee. With the contribution of your time and $50, CO ACEP can continue to preserve and promote emergency medicine in Colorado.