This week, the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee made several changes to the Medicaid expansion bill, adjourning without further action. The amendments made to the bill include a work and education provision, a conscientious objection provision, and prerequisites that must be met before expansion could be implemented in our state.
More importantly though, the committee’s action makes clear that the expansion bill would likely continue to be delayed until issues related to the constitutional amendment on abortion are resolved. Proponents of the constitutional amendment argue that, if it is not passed, the state’s portion of expansion funding could be used on abortions.
Although certain legislative deadlines are approaching, the expansion bill (SB 252) remains alive for consideration. At any point during the session, the bill could be taken up for further changes and potential passage.
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Also this week, the House Health and Human Services Committee held an informational “roundtable discussion” on a proposal that would allow APRNs to practice independently with an unlimited scope of practice.
Participating in the discussion on behalf of KMS were President LaDona Schmidt, MD; Chair of the Legislative Committee, Kevin Hoppock, MD; and Board Member Jennifer Bacani McKenney, MD. Four Kansas APRNs participated along with a lobbyist for the Chicago-based National Council of State Boards of Nursing. Also participating were two PAs representing the Kansas Academy of Physician Assistants.
The 90-minute discussion gave advocates of the APRN proposal (HB 2412) an opportunity to explain to committee members how they believe the bill would be beneficial.
Among other things, speakers argued that removing collaborative practice agreements would increase patient access to care in rural and underserved areas of the state. Further they argued that their education, training, and certification were sufficient to limit their scope of practice.
Drs. Schmidt, Hoppock, and Bacani McKenney each helped illustrate for committee members the significant differences in education and clinical training between physicians and APRNs—and therefore why physician-led care teams are the best model to safely and efficiently meet the health care needs of our state. They stressed the importance of clearly defining the scope of practice of non-physician providers in order to ensure appropriate education, training, and regulation protecting Kansas patients.
No action on the bill has been scheduled. We will continue to monitor it and communicate with legislators about the importance of ensuring patients receive the highest quality of care as delivered through physician-led teams.
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• View previous Legislative Updates at: www.kmsonline.org/legislature