February 6, 2023
Headlines — February 6, 2023 Stacie Johnson
Boulder County Housing and Human Services Accepting Housing Voucher Applications Feb. 8
Boulder County Housing and Human Services will accept online applications for federally funded housing vouchers for one day only this week. The agency will open the window for Section 8 and housing assistance vouchers at 8:30 am Wednesday, Feb. 8th. The window closes the same day at 4:30 pm. The agency says it will conduct a lottery to award the 100 available vouchers to qualifying renters.
To qualify for the assistance, applicants must earn 50% or less of the Area Median Income or live on a fixed income, such as social security payments. Program manager, Kelly Gonzalez says the county is encouraging everyone to apply, even if individuals are unsure of their eligibility.
Boulder County Long-Term Care Ombudsman Says Care Facilities Face Challenges By Low Medicaid Reimbursement Rates, Including Soon-To-Be Closed Golden West
Boulder’s Golden West assisted living facility is preparing to close its doors on March 4th. The facility is one of only four in Boulder County that accepts Medicaid. Erica Corson, Boulder County’s Long-term Care ombudsman, told the Longmont Leader four other assisted living facilities in Boulder County ended their Medicaid contracts during the past year.
The facilities have reportedly experienced delays and Medicaid payments insufficient to sustain their operations. This has forced facilities like Golden West to rely on private pay clients to offset low Medicaid reimbursement. Many private pay residents moved out of assisted living facilities during the pandemic.
Boulder County’s Long-term Care office will hold an online informational session Tuesday, Feb. 7 at noon. Corson said the aim of Tuesday’s webinar is to bring awareness on what things people need to think about and clarify misconceptions accompanying long-term care.
State Agency Seeks Budget Increase With Competitive Pay For Home Health Care Workers As A Budget Priority
The Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, the agency that runs Medicaid programs throughout the state, is seeking a 1.7% budget increase from state lawmakers for the next fiscal year. According to the Denver Post, the agency spends about $14 billion on Medicaid with federal funds included and is seeking just over $85 million from state lawmakers.
The Denver Post reports the agency aims to target the largest portion of its budget proposal towards wage increases for home health workers, who provide nursing or home health support to people with conditions that require round-the-clock care. Families of individuals requiring 24/7 care say it is difficult to find qualified nurses who will work at the rate Medicaid pays. Among other budget requests, the agency is also hoping to increase rates paid to nursing homes and end most co-pays.
Colorado Legislative Committee Advances Bill Capping EpiPen Co-Pay
A new bill is seeking to limit the cost of Epipens statewide. The bill limits the copay for EpiPen auto-injectors to $60 dollars and passed through Colorado’s House of Representatives last week.
EpiPens deliver life-saving doses of epinephrine to alleviate symptoms of severe food allergies. Mylan, the company that manufactures the drugs, in recent years, has charged more than $600 dollars for a two-pack of the life-saving drug. The bill breaks up Mylan’s market monopoly and would save Coloradans thousands of dollars. According to the Colorado Newsline, representatives who support the bill say Coloradans should not have to “choose between paying rent and accessing life-saving medication”.
Those in opposition say mandates like this one slowly give way to hikes in insurance costs that affect all Coloradoans. The bill is now waiting to be heard by a House appropriations committee for its finalization.
Fort Collins Chooses Republic Services For Residential Trash Hauling & Recycling
Fort Collins is moving forward with Republic Services as its only provider for waste management and recycling services. The Arizona-based waste disposal company, Republic Services, is now closer to being the official waste management operator for the city of Fort Collins after a months-long selection process. According to the Coloradan, Fort Collins selected Republic Services out of three waste management providers that applied to the city council. If approved, Fort Collins’s residents will receive new weekly recycling and yard trimming services from Republic starting in 2024 until 2029. The Coloradan reports Fort Collins residents that would prefer a different provider will have to pay a monthly fee of $11.10.
Denver Opens Up Ruby Hill Rail Yard To Skiers And Snowboarders
Denver Parks and Recreation, along with Winter Park, opened on Saturday the Ruby Hill Rail Yard, a free urban terrain park for snowboarders and skiers. The park will be open for winter activities until March and is located in southwest Denver near South Platte River Drive and West Florida Avenue. According to Denver officials, the park will also offer free rentals of snowboards, boots, and helmets on Thursdays from 4 pm to 9 pm and Saturday from 11 am to 6 pm.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife Officials Capture And Collar Two Wolves In Jackson County
Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials captured and collared two male wolves last Thursday in the North Park area of Jackson County. The agency says one of the wolves was a recapture with a damaged collar, while the other was a first-time capture and is likely the offspring of the other. The agency said it has been receiving reports of wolves in the area during the past couple of weeks.
Last winter, a pack of wolves, including the breeding male captured last week, migrated from Wyoming and attacked and killed cows and dogs of North Park area ranchers. Officials believe only half of the original eight-member pack is alive as Wyoming allows legal hunting of the predators.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokesperson Travis Duncan told the Colorado Sun the two males are the only wolves with working collars in Colorado. Wildlife officials say they will get satellite data from the collars every few days, which will allow them to gain insight into wolf movement and activity, especially as state officials plan on reintroducing gray wolves west of the Continental Divide as part of a narrowly approved and highly controversial 2020 ballot measure.
Headlines — February 6, 2023 Stacie Johnson