The legislature adjourned the regular session shortly after 6pm on Friday, April 5. With school finance negotiations complete and passage of an increased funding package, both the House and Senate were able to wrap up other lingering issues on the final day. Among those issues were health packages representing several pieces of policy bundled together in conference committee.
HB 2119 combined three bills that represented KMS involvement.
HB 2389 mandates that all opioids schedules II-IV must be e-prescribed by 2021. As originally introduced, the bill would have mandated e-prescribing for all controlled substances by January of 2020. KMS supported pushing back implementation to coincide with federal requirements relating to e-prescribing for Medicare Part D. Additionally, several exceptions and exemptions were adopted, including a waiver for a physician who writes fewer than 50 prescriptions a year, for technological failure or economic hardship and a number of other clinical scenarios.
HB 2119 also included HB 2082, allowing pharmacists to administer injections that would otherwise be self-administered by patients. As originally drafted, the bill allowed pharmacists to administer any drug by any method. KMS urged that the bill should narrow its focus so as not to be harmful and removed opposition when proponents accepted our suggested amendment.
HB 2402 establishes the Corporate Practice of Medicine. A new proposal was introduced during the final week of committee work and was scheduled for hearings and advancement even as KMS worked to incorporate KMS principles for patient protection. In final form, the bill was heavily amended to include policy recommended by KMS. Specifically, the Corporate Practice of Medicine will be regulated by the Board of Healing Arts. It is limited in its scope; the definition of business entities allowed to employ physicians is extremely narrow. The law states that nothing will be construed to allow a corporation to substitute its judgment for that of a physician’s and it outlines the same ethical and professional conduct standards for business entities to which physicians are subjected. Finally, the bill contemplated protecting our state’s excellent medical malpractice environment. Under the bill, the Health Care Stabilization Fund is required to conduct an organizational and actuarial study on the impact of corporations to the malpractice environment. The study findings must be reported back to the legislature next January and the bill goes into effect in March 2020, allowing a gap for the passage of additional legislation regarding the Fund, should it be necessary.
All three of these measures passed the House of Representatives but were not heard or advanced by the Senate. However, because they were worked out through compromise that represented all parties, the conference committee included them each in HB 2119 which passed both the House and Senate, making all of the included provisions law.
When the Legislature returns May 1 we can expect a continued push for the Senate to take up Medicaid Expansion. HB 2066 passed the House with 69 votes but did not receive a hearing in the Senate.
Finally, HB 2412 allowing the independent practice of Advanced Practice Registered Nurses was also introduced in the final week of session. It was referred to the Health committee where it will carry over until next year.