Paramedic protocols change after convictions in McClain case, and Colorado has one of the lowest pay rates for private nurses


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    02_29_2024 morningheadlines Franziska Stangl

Changes in paramedic procedures after convictions in Elijah McClain case

A jury convicted the second of two paramedics in the 2019 death of Elijah McClain last Friday.

The judge sentenced Peter Cichuniec to 5 years in prison for second-degree assault through the unlawful administration of drugs and criminally negligent homicide. 

The case has resulted in paramedics, fire departments, and medical responders across the country changing their protocol on how to handle and restrain people in police custody. 

Peter Cichuniec was one of two paramedics who administered 23-year-old Eljah McClain ketamine after police reported that he had shown resistance. McClain went into cardiac arrest and later died in a hospital.

In response to the December ruling and last Friday’s sentencing, emergency Departments are pulling back on their use of strong sedatives.  

According to The Denver Post, they will also include better patient assessment before medical treatment and stock medical kits with sedative alternatives. 

An updated autopsy of Elijah McClain’s body showed that he died because he was given ketamine after being restrained. Experts deemed the dose too high for someone of his size.

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Nursing shortage in Colorado due to low insurance reimbursement rates

A report released in February shows that Colorado Medicaid has one of the worst reimbursement rates for private nurses.

The analysis by The Menges Group shows that Colorado Medicaid would need to raise its rates for registered nurses by about 38% and about 50% for licensed practical nurses.

Brent Hogue, area vice president for Maxim Healthcare Services told The Denver Post, that nurses have so many options because of the caregiver shortage, which makes it hard to keep up with competitors who can offer better rates.

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Bills in support of transgender Coloradans’ right to name change

Two bills on transgender rights are advancing in the Colorado legislature. 

The first bill would give people convicted of a felony the opportunity to legally change their names to align with their gender identity even when they are convicted under a different name.

The second bill would require schools to use students’ preferred names and would consider resistance to do so as discrimination. The bill would also include the creation of a task force that gives schools advice on non-legal name change policies.

The bills will now move to the state senate. 

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Potential bill for free menstrual products in Colorado schools

Another bill is under consideration that would require Colorado middle and high schools to provide free menstrual products to their students.

According to the Daily Camera, more than 35 Colorado districts already provide free menstrual products. If the bill passes, every middle and high school will have to provide the products in all buildings with bathrooms, starting July 2026. 

The bill is headed to the Appropriations Committee on a 7-4 vote. 

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Colorado Legal Services host legal advice clinic in Longmont

Colorado Legal Services will host a clinic for free legal advice from attorneys to Longmont residents on Tuesday.

It will take place from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Longmont Senior Center, and no registration is needed.

Residents can ask any questions on topics like immigration, housing, and employment, either in English or Spanish.

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Franziska Stangl

Franziska Stangl


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