Being a freshman legislator isn’t easy. For some it takes a while to learn the ropes — battling pressure from lobbyists, constituents and the …
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Being a freshman legislator isn’t easy.
For some it takes a while to learn the ropes — battling pressure
from lobbyists, constituents and the other party, all the while
trying to master the Capitol’s rules and procedures.
But State Sen. Linda Newell, D-Littleton, jumped into
legislative service with gusto, serving on the Health and Human
Services committee, the Judiciary Committee and the Local
She carried six bills (each legislator is usually allowed to
carry up to five), all of which passed through their respective
committees or Senate floor with significant support. She also was
the prime Senate sponsor for five more bills starting in the House
and co-sponsored several others.
On June 15, Senate President Brandon Schaffer appointed Newell
to two interim committees which will examine important health care
issues before the start of next session in January 2010.
The first meeting of the Hospice and Palliative Care Committee
is July 8. Newell also will serve as vice chair on the Severe
Developmentally Disabled Children Waiting List committee.
“I have always been a champion for children and an advocate for
vulnerable populations,” Newell said. “Since they can’t be at the
podium, I speak out and work on the bills that matter most to them.
I vowed to be the voice of those who need a voice at the Capitol
and am looking forward to the important work these interim
committees will do this summer.”
The Hospice and Palliative Care Committee will study barriers
and disincentives that prohibit or prevent patients from receiving
care during chronic and life-threatening illnesses.
Other topics the committee will consider include:
Barriers to accessing and utilizing care in urban and rural
Economics and cost savings of care, including the cost savings
of Medicaid residential level of hospice care in a hospice
Coverage of care under private health insurance and Medicaid
plans, including the Colorado Indigent Care Program.
Oversight of the quality of hospice and palliative care programs
in the state.
Factors contributing to ethical dilemmas at the end of life and
methods to reduce those factors, including clarifying laws and
regulations governing advance directives.
Factors limiting the efficacy of the provision of hospice and
palliative care, including laws and regulations pertaining to the
legal pronouncement of death.
“As the Senate sponsor for House Bill 1103 this year helping
with the hospice and long-term care eligibility process, I became
acutely aware of the obstacles people face as they enter into the
last phase of their lives,” Newell said.
“I hope to help preserve their dignity, ease and peace during
this delicate time.”
Newell and the Severe Developmentally Disable Children Waiting
List committee will work to address the home-and-community-based
services waivers waiting list.
The waivers were created to address specific needs for children
who qualify for a “nursing home level of care.”
The committee will primarily study why such large waiting lists
exist for the home-and-community-based service waivers, and discuss
strategies for reducing the list.
There are more than 900 children with chronic, long-term
disabilities waiting for access to various service waivers, and
families are told it will be years before their children will be
able to access vitally necessary health care services, according to
the General Assembly’s House Joint Resolution 09-1026.
According to the resolution, it is more cost effective for the
state to provide services and allow children to live at home with
their families whenever possible, saving the state costly hospital
or institutional-level care.
To contact Sen. Newell, visit www.linda4senate.com.
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