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D50D8017F069EF8B872583600073F675 Hearing Summary


Date Dec 11, 2018      
Location Old State Library

SMART Act Briefing from the Department of Human Services - Committee Discussion Only

02:06:46 PM  

Reggie Bicha, Executive Director, DHS, presented the department's SMART Act presentation and distributed a handout to the committee [Attachment E].  He provided an overview of the functions of DHS. He told the committee that DHS owns 343 properties and leases 11.  He discussed the community partners DHS collaborates with and the administrative structure of the department.

02:13:14 PM  

Director Bicha provided an overview of the department's budget requests.

02:14:53 PM  

Phil Robinson, DHS, discussed the department's legislative priorities, which include increasing capacity for competency restoration, child welfare statutory revisions, implementing the children's code task force recommendations, child care assistance programs and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program statutory alignments, and the Division of Youth Services' realignment.

02:17:34 PM  

Director Bicha discussed the department's regulatory report and agenda. He spoke about the department's performance measures and discussed the department's Wildly Important Goals.

02:26:51 PM  

Robert Werthwein, OBH Director, provided an overview of OBH and the settlement agreement regarding competency evaluations and restoration services. He reviewed issues related to competency restorations.

02:31:43 PM  

Mr. Werthwein discussed legislative strategies to reduce the backlog of individuals waiting for competency restorations. He discussed the efforts to increase beds through the Restoring Individuals Safely and Effectively (RISE) program, adding beds at the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo (CMHIP), and contracting with private hospitals.  He discussed legislative options under consideration to further address the backlog, such as, dismissing non-violent low level charges, providing inpatient restoration only for those that meet inpatient clinical need, and pursuing jail-base restoration. He responded to questions about the length of time from a finding of incompetency to restoration.

02:47:03 PM  

Director Bicha discussed issues related to extending time periods allowed for restoring to competency.  He discussed Senate Bill 18-252, which would have allowed jail-based restoration.  Committee discussion followed about allocation of beds at the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Fort Logan  and CMHIP.

02:52:09 PM  

Mr. Werthwein dialogued with the committee about mental health services and strategies to help individuals with mental health issues receive care.

02:55:35 PM  

Director Bicha spoke about the barriers facing individuals receiving care in CHMIP, guardianship issues, and mental health services and supports available to individuals in the community.

02:58:49 PM  

Mr. Werthwein discussed Senate Bill 17-019, concerning medication formularies used in jails, and Senate Bill 17-270, concerning the behavioral health crisis transition referral program.  He presented information about the utilization of Colorado Crisis Services, and the administration of the state opioid grants. He focused on the success of the distribution of Naloxone kits into the community, peer recovery services, and anti-stigma campaigns.

03:07:11 PM  

Minna Castillo Cohen, Office of Children Youth and Families Director, presented on the activities of the office.  She spoke about the Division of Child Welfare, including the child abuse reporting hotline, child welfare workload trends, out-of-home placement, and the federal Family First Prevention Services Act.

03:18:34 PM  

Ms. Castillo Cohen spoke about the Statewide Youth Development Plan.  She discussed the activities of the Division of Youth Services, including enhancing healthcare delivery, improving safety, building trauma responsive environments, and focusing on family and community connections.  She spoke about realigning Division of Youth Services' facilities and reducing the detention bed cap.  Ms. Castillo Cohen responded to questions about funding for domestic violence programs and human trafficking.  Committee members dialogued with Ms. Castillo Cohen and Director Bicha about the funding to increase the number of child welfare caseworkers.

03:33:18 PM  

Ki'i Powell, Office of Economic Security Director, provided an overview of the Division of Food and Energy Assistance, the Division of Child Support Services, and the Division of Employment and Benefits.  She spoke about the department's progress in meeting the federal deadlines associated with processing applications for Colorado Works and food assistance programs.

03:39:05 PM  

Director Bicha discussed the Colorado Works' work participation rates and the success of the program.

03:41:30 PM  

Ms. Powell discussed the Colorado Parent Employment Program and the basic cash assistance cost of living adjustment.  Ms. Powell responded to questions.

03:50:05 PM  

Mary Anne Snyder, Office of Early Childhood Director, presented on the Division of Early Care and Learning and the Division of Community and Family Support.  She told the committee that 28,662 families received assistance from the Colorado Child Care Assistance Program in FY 2017-18.  She discussed the Colorado Shines quality rating and improvement system for all of Colorado's licensed early care and learning programs serving children ages 0-5 years.  She discussed early intervention supports and services provided to families with children birth through age two who have developmental needs.

03:58:59 PM  

Director Bicha responded to questions. Ms. Snyder responded to questions about early intervention supports and services.

04:02:48 PM  

Mark Wester, Office of Community Access and Independence Director, presented on the Division of Disability Determination Services, Regional Center Operations, Veterans Community Living Centers, and Aging and Adult Services.

04:05:46 PM  

He discussed the implementation of Senate Bill 16-178, which requires DHS to vacate the Grand Junction Regional Center Campus by July 1, 2018, or as soon as all current resident are transitioned to settings that support their well-being and respect their individual choice.

04:08:28 PM  

Mr. Wester discussed Adult Protective Services. Director Bicha spoke about the Judicial Branch's efforts focused on creating a guardianship program outside of DHS for at-risk adults.

04:14:43 PM  

Mr. Wester discussed the Long-term Care Ombudsman, the PACE Ombudsman, and provided an update on the respite care task force. He discussed the the department's budget request for updated compensation for direct care employees, which would move the salary for these positions from the bottom of the salary range to the middle of the salary range. Committee discussion followed.

04:23:54 PM  
Direct Bicha made closing comments.

The effective date for bills enacted without a safety clause is August 7, 2024, if the General Assembly adjourns sine die on May 8, 2024, unless otherwise specified. Details