Bill to let Coloradans with mental health disorders create advance orders headed to Polis' desk | Mental Health Colorado Action Dashboard
Colorado Politics
Feb 28, 2019

Bill to let Coloradans with mental health disorders create advance orders headed to Polis' desk

By: Conrad Swanson

A bill that would allow those with behavioral or mental health disorders to create an advance medical plan for possible future crises is now in the hands of Gov. Jared Polis.

Colorado’s Senate approved House Bill 1044 — co-sponsored there by Sen. Don Coram, R-Montrose, and Sen. Nancy Todd, D-Aurora — Wednesday on a third and final vote. The House approved the measure at the end of January.

The bipartisan proposal would allow adults to write advance medical orders on the type of treatment they prefer and establish a set of procedures in case they’re unable to provide consent or make their own decisions.

A spokesperson for Polis could not immediately say whether he would sign the bill into law or when he might take action on the measure.

The Senate passed the bill unanimously Wednesday after also adopting a last-minute amendment that would limit the advance orders to two years before needing to be revisited. No other discussion was held before the vote.

During a committee hearing last week, some witnesses expressed concern that medical professionals might be unaware of an advance medical order if a patient is unable to make decisions or communicate clearly.

Those concerns were not revisited on the Senate floor before the second or third votes.

Others witnesses, several of whom said they suffered from mental health disorders like bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, told the committee that if they had been allowed the use of an advance medical order in past crises, they would have benefited from the treatment of a different doctor, attended a different hospital, received alternative treatments and could have avoided long stints in isolation.