2019 Policy Agenda

Funding and policy changes to strengthen the CO Medicaid State Plan, state programs, and HCBS Medicaid waivers for people with disabilities to include support for:

  • Changes in Colorado statute, where needed, to comply with the requirements established in federal law for Home and Community Based Services (HCBS);
  • Therapeutic, out-of-home placement, and intensive treatment options for children with I/DD and dual diagnosis/secondary diagnosis of serious health, mental health, and behavioral conditions;
  • Full implementation of Colorado’s Olmstead Plan including implementation of strategies for integrated competitive employment;
  • Increased standards for health, fire, and safety as they pertain to IRSS settings.
  • Additional resources to be allocated for the implementation of Employment First in Colorado;
  • Increased funding for respite and other services needed to maintain family stability;
  • Expansion of Cross-System Behavioral HealthCrises Pilots;
  • Consistent standards for enrollment in HCBS/Long-Term Supports and Services (LTSS) waivers for emergency cases;
  • Accelerated Medicaid waiver simplification with the purpose of creating single, easily accessible HCBS waivers for 1) all eligible children and 2) all eligible adults with intellectual/developmental disabilities. Each waiver should further access to quality services and supports when and where needed throughout their lifetimes;
  • Increased Supported Living Services and waiver levels with rate increases.
  • Consumer and participant directed services in all HCBS/LTSS waivers.

Colorado students with disabilities have a legal right to free, appropriate and inclusive educational opportunities in all settings within the least restrictive environment.  Colorado must provide for:

  • Adequate funding for public schools for inclusive, student-centered programs for all students;
  • Alternatives to harmful disciplinary practices such as suspension and expulsion for young students and requirements that schools to work to de-escalate minor school infractions rather than call for police department assistance.
  • Expansion of Inclusive Higher Education programs in the Denver-Metro area and along the Western slope; and encourage future and current programs to attract and support degree seeking students,
  • Elimination of corporal punishment in public schools that receive federal funding;
  • Special education services provided in the least restrictive and most inclusive setting by qualified teachers, staff and therapists for all eligible students including an appropriate continuum of services, para-professional support, and related supports including transportation;
  • Adequate medical, nursing, and behavioral support services (with appropriate staffing) for students with complex needs;
  • Meaningful transition services for students with disabilities that are person-centered and that prepare them for continuing education and/or work-based experiences, resulting in competitive integrated employment, and successful community living;
  • Achieve equal access to appropriate supports and services in publicly funded education services for student age birth through 21.

Protection of civil rights for people with disabilities including: 

  • Promoting alternatives (e.g., health-care proxies, advance directives, supported decision-making, powers of attorney, notarized statements, representation agreements, etc.) in favor of permanent, restrictive protective arrangements; guardianship policies should respect the rights of people with disabilities to manage their own affairs with informal assistance and guidance from family, friends, and others. If guardianship is essential, it should be limited to the fewest restrictions necessary for the shortest amount of time and tailored to the individual’s specific capacities and needs, always with a presumption in favor of limited rather than full guardianship;
  • Policies for representatives of people with I/DD to ensure that the needs and choices of people are respected and honored;
  • School discipline policies that provide positive behavioral supports for students with disabilities that minimize seclusion, restraint, and involvement of law enforcement;
  • Appropriate accommodations and modifications to support individuals with disabilities in the criminal justice system.