Newsletter Archive

Summaries of 2017 Colorado Legislation


HB17-1253 Protect Seniors from Financial Abuse. Concerning the “Protection of Vulnerable Adults from Financial Exploitation Act”.
 
The Governor signed this Act into law on June 2, 2017. It's focus is on making those with either broker-dealer or investment advisor licenses from the Colorado Division of Securities reporters of financial exploitation for those age 70 and over and at-risk adults 18 and older. This is not a criminal statute and does make them mandatory reporters with the 22 other occupations under the previously passed Senate Bill13-111 with criminal penalties. The Colorado Securities Commission will offer license holders training and make referrals of financial exploitation to local law enforcement and to Adult Protective Services (APS). The Model Act was adopted in early 2016 by the North American Securities Administrators Association that was seeing very few examples of financial exploitation cases reported nationwide by broker-dealers or investment advisors. Although the Model Act is not a criminal statute, increased reporting has led to more prosecution of financial exploitation cases of elderly and at-risk adults in states where it has been adopted.

HB17-1284 Data System Check for Employees Serving At-risk Adults: Concerning “Protecting At-Risk Adults from Mistreatment by Establishing a Check of the Colorado Adult Protective Services Data System for Persons Employed to Provide Direct Care to At-Risk Adults”. 
The Governor signed this Act into law on May 30, 2017. The general requirements of the law take effect on January 1, 2019 in order to permit the Department of Human Services time to train personnel and develop a database.

Background:  (Source, “Final Report Background Check Task Group Findings and Recommendations, October 2016”)

In January 2016 the Executive Directors of the Colorado Department of Human Services, Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Finance, the Colorado Department of Public Safety, and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment developed a Background Check Task Group. The Task Group included representatives from state agencies as well as stakeholder groups. The charge of the Task Group was to identify and develop solutions to address gaps in Colorado statutes, rules, policies, and procedures that would allow people with a civil or criminal find of abuse or neglect of an adult in need of protection to be employed in a position where they would have an opportunity to conduct such acts again.

The task force decided to use the Adult Protective Services statute as the basis for defining an “At-risk adult.” The Task Group further defined the target population by concluding that to be an at-risk adult, the person’s disability must increase vulnerability to mistreatment or self-neglect because the person cannot take care of himself or herself because of physical, medical, or cognitive limitations; or the person is unable to make or communicate responsible decisions or understand the consequences of their actions and choices. A person is not considered “at-risk” solely because of age or solely because of disability.

The Task Group recommended revising state statutes to require fingerprint-based criminal background checks and background checks that include a search of the Colorado Adult Protective Services (CAPS) database to determine whether the person was convicted of a crime or substantiated as a perpetrator in an APS case prior to employment.

General requirements of the Act take effect on January 1, 2019. The Act requires: CAPS disclosure for per-employment screening for specified persons who provide direct care to at-risk adults and who have a substantiated case of mistreatment; the CAPS check must be conducted within 10 days of hiring; specialized training for current and future APS caseworkers and supervisors; fingerprint-based criminal background checks protective services employees hired after May 29, 2012; procedures for notification of a person who is substantiated in a case of mistreatment of an at-risk adult and the right to appeal; and CAPS checks in addition to criminal history background checks for nursing care facilities employees.

The list of employers required to request a CAPS check includes:
  • Health facilities licensed by the Department of Public Health and Environment;
  • An adult day care facility;
  • A community integrated health care service agency;
  • Community-Centered Board or a program-approved service agency or contractor for services and supports;
  • A single entry point agency;
  • An Area Agency on Aging;
  • A facility operated by the Department for Persons with mental illness;
  • A facility operated by The Department for Persons with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities;
  • A veteran’s community living center.
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