April 24, 2019

Denver, CO – The Senate State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee today voted unanimously to advance HB19-1193, Behavioral Health Supports for High-Risk Families, a bill sponsored by President Leroy Garcia (D-Pueblo) to increase access to treatment for pregnant and parenting women with substance use disorders. The bill now moves to the Appropriations Committee for consideration.

“Coloradans all across this state are struggling with addiction, and unfortunately that struggle can impact pregnant women and newborns,” said President Garcia. “As a paramedic, I understand the importance of proactively addressing challenges like this. When we do not act, healthcare costs increase and there are significant social impacts on families and communities.”

Cases of neonatal abstinence syndrome increased among women enrolled in Colorado Medicaid by 120 percent between 2011 and 2016. To combat this concerning trend, HB19-1193 would provide access to treatment and create child care pilot programs for pregnant women and women one-year postpartum engaged in substance use disorder treatment. It would help identify women in need of such services and allow state funds to provide for treatment.

“This bill is an opportunity to provide critical support to pregnant and postpartum women who are experiencing substance use disorders, and get them access to the treatment and services they need,” added President Garcia.

This bill would create the high-risk families cash fund to provide services to high-risk parents, including pregnant and parenting women, and for services for high-risk children and youth with behavioral health disorders. It would also create the child care services and substance use disorder treatment pilot program and award a variety of pilot program grants to serve pregnant and parenting women in need.

The cost of addiction is not just a danger to the health of newborns and mothers, but it is also extremely financially costly. Hospital stays are 3.5 times longer than those born without addiction and cost three times as much, according to a study by the Society for the Study of Addiction.

For more information on HB19-1193, please visit https://leg.colorado.gov/bills/hb19-1193.