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March 3, 1999

The Disability Law Forum Committee met in the CBA offices. Present were Ellen Buckley, Kevin Williams, Claire Williamson, Jim Carr, Michael Breeskin, Mary Helen Miller and Jim Dean.

1. The committee reviewed and adopted the February meeting minutes.

2. Ellen announced that past meeting minutes were now up on our Web site.

3. Convention update - Kevin got a list of other committees' topics and time slots and found others were having two-hour programs. None of the committees with four-hour slots seemed likely co-sponsors, so it was decided to seek a two-hour slot. Our only choices were Friday morning or Saturday afternoon. Given the likelihood of more attendees on Saturday, Kevin booked Saturday, September 25, from 2:30 - 5:00 p.m. May 3rd - speakers/topics due. September 16th - written materials are due.

Possible topics - The committee's consensus was that four topics were too much last year for the time allotted so we will have fewer topics this year. Kevin offered to speak on the six ADA cases that should be decided by the Supreme Court this summer. Jim Carr suggested that if new IDEA regulations are promulgated in time, we present them and invite school district attorneys. Others felt there might not be enough interest in this topic. Ellen suggested a presentation on HB 1116, Concerning the Provision of Services to Children Whose Mental Illness Places Them at Risk of Out-of-Home Placement, if that bill passes. We will discuss the convention program again.

4. Bill Updates - HB 1085 (asset test for Medicaid eligibility for children) was amended by House HEWI and sent to Appropriations. HB 1088 (requiring therapy for children with congenital defects) was amended and passed by the House, amended by Senate HEWI and sent to Appropriations.

HB 1090 (concerning protection of persons from restraint) - Was passed by the House and will be heard March 11 by Senate HEWI. The Hospital Association now says they will neither support nor oppose the bill. Amendments likely to be added in Senate HEWI are that a.) each agency shall insure that restraints shall be documented but the specifics of documentation shall be left to enforcement agencies' promulgation of regulations and b.) to the extent this bill conflicts with CRS 27-10.5-101 et. seq., 27-10.5 governs. This prohibits seclusion of people with developmental disabilities.

The committee voted to ask the CBA to support HB 1090, with or without the proposed amendments. Kevin will go to the CBA Legislative Policy committee meeting this Friday to request the Bar's support. It was decided that testimony from a committee representative was not needed at the 3/11 HEWI hearing.

HB 1160 (concerning the provision of services to children whose mental illness places them at risk of out-of-home placement) - was amended by House HEWI and referred to Appropriations. It has a fiscal note of $400,000. The bill includes three groups of children: 1. those already on Medicaid; 2. those possible eligible for Medicaid; and 3. those probably not qualified and who cannot be made eligible. There is a concern that this bill may cloud the issue that currently, Mental Health Assessment and Service Agencies (MHAASA) have an obligation to provide residential treatment to children on Medicaid. Part of the bill's purpose was to ensure parents did not have to go through dependency and neglect hearings to get their children residential treatment. Under the state's contracts with MHAASAs, they are obligated to provide residential treatment, but many were refusing and telling parents they needed to get Social Services to pay. This may no longer be a problem since the state sent the MHAASAs a letter in July clarifying their obligations. The committee will continue to monitor this bill. Other groups are actively working on the bill.

5. Medicaid Pilot Waiver Program - Mary Helen Miller announced that this program is awaiting HCFA approval, which may occur in another six to nine months. The program would have Medicaid pay for services a private employer's insurance would not cover so 150 people on SSI or SSDI could work and still receive necessary medical services. Julie Reiskin of CCDC and Judy Emery of CU Health Sciences Center have been working on this.

6. CLE - The Center for People With Disabilities in Boulder is sponsoring a half-day program on "Working With Disabilities." It was suggested that the committee could sponsor this program in Denver in the future.

Submitted by:
Ellen Buckley, Co-chair