2023 Legislative Updates
Seven working days remain before the important turnaround deadline on February 23rd. Turnaround day is the deadline by which all non-exempt bills must be passed by their house of origin. This means non-exempt committees may only meet and consider bills until February 20th, making this upcoming week one of the busiest of the year for committee activity and to signal which bills have the most momentum at this point in the session.
The Governor has continued to press legislative leaders to allow a hearing on Medicaid Expansion. Though the issue was not debated before Kansas Day on January 29 as she requested, there is talk that both bodies may yet hold hearings for the first time in several years. SB 355 and HB 2555, the identical Medicaid Expansion bills introduced in both chambers are exempt from the turnaround deadline and are not likely to move before.
Next week will prove to be significant for the health provider community with hearings in the House and Senate health committees on bills allowing for expedited partner therapy, restricting physician delegatory authority and discouraging public health measures, including vaccine exemptions and the role of the Secretary of Health and Environment.
The following measures have passed out of Health and Human Services and move to the full House of Representatives for consideration:
HB 2547 – Authorizing school nurses to provide albuterol (KMS Supports)
HB 2548 – No patient dies alone (KMS Supports)
HB 2579 – Allowing EMS to distribute OTC medications (KMS Supports)
HB 2637 – Rural emergency hospital licensure (KMS Supports)
These bills have had hearings or are scheduled for hearings next week, but have not yet been passed by committee:
SB 352 – “Patient’s Bill of Rights” mandating end-of-life visitation policies and creating a civil cause of action (KMS Opposes)
SB 404/ HB 2750 – Expedited Partner Therapy (KMS Supports)
HB 2510 – Third party litigation (KMS supports)
SB 390 – Conscientious right to refuse vaccinations (KMS Opposes)
SB 391 – Limiting the KHDE Secretary from quarantine measures (KMS Opposes)
SB 461/HB 2643 – Altering delegatory authority for laser hair removal (KMS Opposes)
In addition to the bills listed above, there are many more proposals affecting the practice of medicine that have not yet been scheduled for hearings and could begin to move before the turnaround deadline on February 20th. Optometrists, CRNAs and Naturopaths have all introduced legislation seeking to expand their professional scope of practice. KMS strongly opposes these measures and continues to advocate for protecting patients by keeping the practice of medicine in physicians’ hands.
Though the legislative session is only one month in, the election-year dynamics are shaping out mostly as expected. There is no doubt that issues which emerged as a result of COVID continue to dominate many legislative efforts and feelings among some in the public about health care officials, institutions, and physicians. The personal trauma that so many experienced during that time has shaped the way many people, and legislators specifically, feel about public health, medical expertise, patients’ rights, government mandates on health measures and more. Now more than ever it is critical to remember that even as we work through this environment, protecting the patient-physician relationship is key to restoring public and personal trust in medical care. While you all do that day in and day out in your practice with each of your patients, public policy is still catching up and will need our attention and commitment.
The intersection of government and medicine should rarely take a one-size-fits-all approach. KMS will continue to advocate for laws that protect patients from substandard care, promote access, respect physician judgment and delegation, and ensure a strong network of physicians that can serve the needs of Kansans. Though many of the bills before the committees in the next week challenge those principles, we will continue to take your voice to the statehouse and remind legislators of your dedication to provide the best possible care for Kansans. At the end of the day, when life is in the balance and a loved one is at risk, everyone, everywhere wants access to the most highly-trained and educated expert treatment – they want a physician. It is our duty to ensure the Kansas law promotes an environment where that expectation can be met.
For questions or comments relating to legislative matters, please contact Rachelle Colombo.
- Governor Kelly’s Medicaid expansion proposal was introduced in both chambers of the legislature. The reception in the House Appropriations Committee was not favorable. There was a vote on whether or not to even introduce the measure. It narrowly passed 9-8. There are now 40 states which have passed Medicaid expansion with the recent approval in North Carolina. Governor Kelly has asked that the measures be heard in committee by the end of January.
- SB352: Healthcare. This bill, introduced by the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee, enacts the John D. Springer Patient’s Bill of Rights, which would require hospitals to allow in-person visitation under certain circumstances including from a person holding a durable power of attorney, an immediate family member, a domestic partner, or a significant other. This bill has been referred to the Senate Committee on Public Health and Welfare chaired by Sen. Beverly Gossage.
- SB354: Insurance. This bill, introduced by the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee, amends the Healthcare Provider Insurance Availability Act and would designate certain facilities where elective abortions are performed as being ineligible to purchase professional liability insurance from the Healthcare Stabilization Fund and would require, as a condition of licensure, such facilities to maintain continuous professional liability coverage equivalent to that provided by the Healthcare Stabilization Fund. This bill has been referred to the Senate Committee on Public Health and Welfare chaired by Sen. Beverly Gossage.
- SB355: Insurance. This bill, introduced by Senate Committee on Ways and Means, concerns health insurance coverage and would expand medical assistance eligibility would enact the Cutting Healthcare Cost for All Kansans Act, and would direct the direct the Department of Health and Environment to study certain Medicaid expansion topics. This bill has not been referred to a committee.
- HB2492: Abortion. This bill, introduced by Rep. Michael Murphy (R)- Sylvia, and others, concerns abortion and makes it unlawful for any person to knowingly perform or induce or attempt to induce an abortion except when necessary to preserve the life of a pregnant woman in a medical emergency. This bill would also make it unlawful to manufacture, distribute, prescribe, dispense, sell or give certain abortifacient drugs for the purpose of inducing an abortion. Violations of the act would be enforced through private causes of action. The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Health and Human Services chaired by Rep. Brenda Landwehr.
- HB2515: Healthcare. This bill, introduced by the House Committee on Federal and State Affairs, would amend the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act and create a civil cause of action against any healthcare provider who injures a child during an attempted abortion. This bill has not been referred to a committee.
The 2025 Governor’s Budget does cover a proposed increase to the minimum wage to $15.
The MSSC Legislative Committee held its first meeting of the new state legislative session today. Kevin Hoppock, MD, led the meeting. Kansas Medical Society Executive Director Rachelle Colombo provided an overview of some of the issues that could come before the Legislature this session, including:
- Medicaid expansion. Gov. Laura Kelly, who gave her State of the State Address on Wednesday, has made Medicaid expansion one of her top priorities. Her new proposal would finance the state’s share of the expansion cost through drug rebates, a hospital fee and additional federal funding. It also includes a work requirement for Medicaid enrollees. MSSC and KMS support Medicaid expansion, but GOP House and Senate leaders oppose it.
- Medicaid reimbursements. KMS was able to secure a 3% increase in physician reimbursement rates last year, but the Medicaid fee schedule remains woefully inadequate. KMS is seeking a larger increase this year.
- Medical marijuana. There typically are multiple bills each session to legalize medical marijuana. Gov. Kelly supports medical marijuana. KMS and MSSC do not support the medical use of non-FDA-approved drugs.
- Scope of Practice. SB 112 would allow Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists to practice independently without physician oversight. Naturopaths also want to prescribe and practice medicine. MSSC and KMS oppose these measures.
- Prior authorization. The Kansas Hospital Association is leading an effort, supported by KMS, to reduce the burden of prior authorization.
How to communicate with lawmakers
The best way to share your thoughts on a particular bill is to send an email to the state lawmakers for your district. You can look up your state representative and senator on this website: https://openstates.org/find_your_legislator/
Messages should be brief, respectful and avoid overly strong language. It is good to mention that you live in the lawmaker’s district and want to share concerns about a bill. It is best to focus on only one or two bills.
|In an effort to help facilitate Kansas MGMA's federal advocacy efforts., National MGMA-ACMPE has provided us with a link to their grassroots center. This link will send you directly to the MGMA Legislative Action Center, where Federal updates and grassroots messages are routinely updated by MGMA government affairs staff.
More Federal Legislative Links...