Senator Garcia, bill sponsor, presented Senate Bill 19-065. The bill directs the Board of Health (board) in CDPHE to designate one or more peer health assistance program to provide assistance to emergency medical service (EMS) providers dealing with physical, emotional, or psychological conditions that are affecting their ability to work. The peer health assistance program(s) must:
• be available to all certified EMS providers, and take referrals from the board;
• provide counseling and support to EMS providers;
• provide education and assistance relating to physical, emotional, and psychological conditions; and
• evaluate the extent of these conditions and, as needed, refer the EMS provider for treatment and monitor the status of that treatment.
The program will be financed by a fee collected upon initial certification and certification renewal of EMS providers beginning January 1, 2021. The fee will be set by the board and may be adjusted annually to reflect utilization of the program and inflation. The payments collected are custodial funds that are not subject to appropriation by the General Assembly; the funds may be used only by the nonprofit administering entity and provider(s) designated by the board. The use of the money does not constitute state fiscal year spending under TABOR.