Just a few days remain for committees to take action on non-exempt bills sent from the opposite chamber if they intend to advance the issue. Practically, these deadlines help legislators to prioritize those issues which require their attention this calendar year. Those issues which provide a remedy for an immediate problem or that are non-controversial in nature are most likely to advance during this final window of committee work. Dozens of bills were introduced affecting the practice of medicine but only a handful remain active for consideration this session.
HB 2674: Kansas Telemedicine Act
HB 2674 passed the full House of Representatives unanimously and without amendments. The bill has been referred to Senate Public Health and Welfare and was heard on Monday, March 19; the committee has not yet worked the bill. The bill is the collaborative result of agreement reached between KMS, hospitals, insurers and vendors. HB 2674 establishes a statutory framework for telemedicine including consistent definitions, regulation and reimbursement for medical care delivered in person and via Telemedicine. KMS supports HB 2674.
HB 2704: Informed consent for administering of psychotropic drugs for adult care home residents
This bill requires a new construct for obtaining the informed consent of adult care home residents who have been prescribed psychotropic drugs. Under HB 2704, physicians would be prohibited from administering psychotropic drugs to adult care home residents without express written consent of the residents’ next of kin. The standard poses liability problems for physicians who may have difficulty obtaining the informed consent if the next of kin is not available, and who could also face liability issues if the resident is a threat to themselves or others without such drugs. Though the bill is well-intentioned, it is virtually innavigable for a physician treating this complex patient population. Moreover, establishing a different standard for informed consent for one patient group creates unnecessary complexity for physicians. The bill had a hearing in the House Children and Seniors Issues Budget Committee on Thursday, March 15; the committee has not worked the bill. KMS opposes the measure.
SB 38: Expanding Medicaid
The bill was passed from the Senate Public Health and Welfare committee unanimously but has not yet been scheduled for debate by the full Senate. It has a long journey ahead needing favorable passage from the full Senate, then the House Health Committee, and the full House of Representatives prior to April 6. Because the bill has been exempted from legislative deadlines, it could be amended onto another bill dealing with Medicaid, but very few such bills are being considered at this time.
Though several other health-related bills have been introduced in either the House or Senate, they have failed to receive exemptions from deadlines and votes in one body that allow them to remain actionable for the remainder of the session. Each issue that affects physicians and their patients has been evaluated by the KMS Legislative Committee; this ensures our policies, positions, and engagement are reflective of members across the state, varying practice types and that Kansas physicians speak with one voice before the legislature. Regardless of the number of bills before lawmakers, KMS is there to ensure that Kansas patients are protected and to ensure a physician-led team delivers their care.