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Second Regular Session

Sixty-first General Assembly

LLS NO. 98­0602.01 JAG SENATE BILL 98­075


BY SENATOR Thiebaut;





Bill Summary

(Note: This summary applies to this bill as introduced and does not necessarily reflect any amendments that may be subsequently adopted.)

Eliminates governmental immunity for physicians and dentists employed by public entities. Eliminates, through a conforming amendment, the exemption from purchasing commercial professional liability insurance formerly extended to such physicians and dentists.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Colorado:

SECTION 1.  24­10­103 (1.5) and (4) (a), Colorado Revised Statutes, are amended to read:

24­10­103.  Definitions.  As used in this article, unless the context otherwise requires:

(1.5)  "Health care practitioner" means a physician, dentist, clinical psychologist or any other person acting at the direction or under the supervision or control of any such persons A CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST, PHYSICIAN, OR DENTIST.

(4) (a)  "Public employee" means an officer, employee, servant, or authorized volunteer of the public entity, whether or not compensated, elected, or appointed, but does not include an independent contractor, A PHYSICIAN OR DENTIST, or any person who is sentenced to participate in any type of useful public service. For the purposes of this subsection (4), "authorized volunteer" means a person who performs an act for the benefit of a public entity at the request of and subject to the control of such public entity.

SECTION 2.  24­10­109 (1), Colorado Revised Statutes, is amended to read:

24­10­109.  Notice required ­ contents ­ to whom given ­ limitations. (1)  Any person claiming to have suffered an injury by a public entity or by an employee thereof, OTHER THAN A PERSON EMPLOYED BY THE PUBLIC ENTITY AS A PHYSICIAN OR DENTIST AT THE TIME THE INJURY ALLEGEDLY OCCURRED, while in the course of such employment, whether or not by a willful and wanton act or omission, shall file a written notice as provided in this section within one hundred eighty days after the date of the discovery of the injury, regardless of whether the person then knew all of the elements of a claim or of a cause of action for such injury. Compliance with the provisions of this section shall be a jurisdictional prerequisite to any action brought under the provisions of this article, and failure of compliance shall forever bar any such action.

SECTION 3.  13­64­301 (1) (a), Colorado Revised Statutes, is amended to read:

13­64­301.  Financial responsibility. (1)  Every physician or dentist, and every health care institution as defined in section 13­64­202, except as provided in section 13­64­303.5, which provide health care services shall establish financial responsibility, as follows:

(a)  If a physician or dentist, by maintaining, no later than January 1, 1990, as a condition of active licensure or authority to practice in this state, commercial professional liability insurance coverage with an insurance company authorized to do business in this state in a minimum indemnity amount of five hundred thousand dollars per incident and one million five hundred thousand dollars annual aggregate per year. except that this requirement is not applicable to a health care professional who is a public employee under the "Colorado Governmental Immunity Act". The board of medical examiners and the board of dental examiners may by rule exempt from or establish lesser financial responsibility standards than those prescribed in this section for classes of license holders who perform medical or dental services as employees of the United States government; who render limited or occasional medical or dental services; who perform less than full­time active medical or dental services because of administrative or other nonclinical duties or partial or complete retirement; or who provide uncompensated health care to patients but do not otherwise provide any compensated health care to patients; or for other reasons that render the limits provided in this paragraph (a) unreasonable or unattainable, but nothing in this paragraph (a) shall preclude or otherwise prohibit a licensed physician or dentist from rendering appropriate patient care on an occasional basis when the circumstances surrounding the need for care so warrant.

SECTION 4.   Effective date ­ applicability.  This act shall take effect upon passage and shall apply to all civil actions arising out of acts committed on or after said date.

SECTION 5.  Safety clause.  The general assembly hereby finds, determines, and declares that this act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, and safety.