As is often the case, a deluge of bills were introduced in the week leading up to the first legislative deadline. Committees must consider and advance non-exempt bills by the end of this week, then debate and pass the same bills through their chamber of origin the following week to stay alive and see final passage by session’s end.
Practically, this means that the first month creeps by and then suddenly explodes into two weeks of action mid-February. A significant portion of issues won’t be scheduled for hearings, won’t pass out of their committees or will fail to secure a majority vote during floor debate. The remaining bills are sent to the opposite house for committee and full consideration before the end of March.
This week, several issues will have hearings and potentially committee votes from the House and Senate health committees.
- Senate Bill 338 establishes the certification of surgical technologists. While KMS supports the utilization of a comprehensive health care team led by a physician, and surgical technologists have an important role, the bill fails to appropriately limit the scope of practice and establish a uniform certification standard for these providers. KMS opposes the bill as written.
- Senate Bill 377 allows pharmacists to administer injections unless a physician prohibits them from doing so expressly on the prescription. The bill does not impose any other limitation on the administration of injections by pharmacists. Not only is this a broad expansion of pharmacists’ scope into the practice of medicine, it serves to fragment care for patients. Senate Bill 387 also deals with pharmacists, and establishes a statewide protocol for drug therapy management. Currently, pharmacists can make adjustments to a prescription if they work in a one on one collaborative practice agreement with the prescribing physician. Under the new proposal, a statewide protocol would be set allowing for broader drug therapy management without a one on one relationship between the physician and pharmacist. Both of these bills would have broad application and significant expansion of a pharmacists' scope of practice into the practice of medicine. KMS is opposing both SB 377 and SB 387.
Other issues that are scheduled for committee votes this week include Medicaid expansion and telemedicine. Senate Public Health and Welfare will take up Senate Bill 38 on Wednesday and KMS will again voice our long-standing support for providing more Kansans with coverage in a fiscally sustainable manner. The House Health and Human Services committee will debate and vote on the Telemedicine Bill, House Bill 2674, which creates a statutory framework establishing consistent regulation and reimbursement between telemedicine and in-person care.
The Kansas Medical Society Legislative Committee meets regularly during the session to evaluate bills that are introduced, scheduled for hearings and advanced for debate to form the principles and positions that are reflected in our advocacy. Our bill tracker highlights these and some of the other high profile issues affecting the practice of medicine being considered by the legislature.