NEWS

MUMPS ON THE RISE IN COLORADO

Denver—Are your cheeks puffy?  Are your salivary glands swollen?  It could be the mumps.  The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment says so far this year, 14 cases have been reported compared to 17 all of last year.  Disease Control Division Director Rachel Herlihy says 11 cases of mumps have been confirmed in the Denver area alone.  She expects that number to grow.  Health officials are urging people to make sure their mumps vaccinations are current.  Any baby-boomers born before 1957 are considered immune.

COLORADO’S NEW SUICIDE LAW CREATING A STIR

Denver—30 hospitals in Colorado are opting out of the new medically assisted suicide law. The law approved by voters last November has three major health systems choosing to opt out; HealthOne, SCL Health and Centura Health.  What that means for individual doctors is unclear.  The law requires terminally-ill patients to have a six-month prognosis and approval from two doctors before they can take life-ending medication.   HealthOne officials say doctors at their eight hospitals will be allowed to talk about suicide medications with their patients as well as prescribe them but on-site pharmacies will not fill them. Doctors with SCL Health cannot participate and Centura Health is also opting out of medically-assisted suicide for reasons unknown.

STATE LAWMAKERS CONSIDER RELIGIOUS CONVICTIONS BILL

Denver—Colorado business owners would be free to deny service to someone if any proposed transaction would violate their religious convictions under a bill being considered by state lawmakers.  House Bill 1013 sponsored by Representatives Stephen Humphrey and Dave Williams is partially in response to the owner of the Masterpiece Cake Shop in Lakewood who refused to make a cake for a same sex wedding because it went against his Christian faith.  The Colorado Court of Appeals ruled against Jack Phillips, saying his decision was discriminatory.  During a recent committee hearing, several people testified both for and against the measure.  Doctor Jenna Ellis, a constitutional attorney and professor at Colorado Christian University says there’s a big difference between refusing to participate in an activity versus denying a service based on discrimination of a protected class of people.  The House State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee approved the bill on a 6 to 3 vote.