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KMS Update: Call to action on APRN issue, COVID vaccine, and other updates

From KMS Executive Director Rachelle Colombo
The Legislature reached first adjournment Friday and began a three week legislative break. They will return on May 3 for a brief, perhaps week-long wrap-up session to complete work on bills awaiting final action, as well as omnibus budget measures.    

In the past couple of weeks—despite not having been passed by either the Senate or House Health Committee—efforts have intensified to pass some form of the APRN independent practice legislation, as an amendment to an unrelated bill now working through the process of reconciliation for consideration in the wrap-up session. Though our efforts have thus far stopped this issue from advancing before first adjournment, the work is not truly conclusive until the legislature completes its work in the first week of May.


While we rarely ask for your direct communication with legislators, we believe it is necessary at this time, because APRN advocates continue to contact legislators in efforts to amend the bill allowing the independent practice of medicine by APRNs onto legislation awaiting final legislative action.

If you have not already done so, please contact your legislator next week and express your opposition to the independent practice of medicine by APRNs. To find contact information for your representative and senator in the legislature, enter your address on this site: https://openstates.org/find_your_legislator/?state=ks

Our belief is that the practice of medicine is distinct from the practice of advanced nursing, which should be defined and appropriately limited in statute and regulated by the Board of Healing Arts to ensure patient safety. APRNs should not be allowed to perform services and acts that constitute the practice medicine and surgery independently or without appropriate physician supervision, oversight, or delegation. In the case of APRNs specifically, we believe APRNs who desire independent practice without a collaborative practice agreement with a physician must also be licensed by the Board of Healing Arts, and their scope of practice defined as it relates to the performance of services or acts which constitute the practice of medicine, including prescribing, the ordering and performance of tests, treatments, and other medical procedures, particularly invasive services or surgery.

As always, it is best to keep your communication brief, respectful, and concise. Legislators are hearing from APRNs every day and have been for many months. They need to hear from the physician community about our strong opposition to this measure and our willingness to appropriately address APRNs’ desire to independently engage in the practice of nursing but NOT medicine.

If you have questions about these or any other legislative matters, please contact me for more information. 



KDHE vaccine manual update
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) this week updated its Vaccine Distribution Provider Manual, which includes information regarding dose allocation and delivery, administration protocols, reporting, managing patient reminders, and documentation requirements. Notably from the document: “Providers are responsible for individual patient reminders (to schedule second doses of the vaccine). The state will work towards ensuring public-facing communications include patient education about the need for boost doses.”


USDA seeks applications for Distance Learning and Telemedicine grants
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that it is accepting applications for Distance Learning and Telemedicine program grants to help provide educational and medical services in rural areas. Read the full stakeholder announcement here.


AMA Webinar: COVID-19 vaccines—What Physicians Need to Know
The American Medical Association (AMA) is hosting a webinar at 3 p.m. April 13 to discuss the most up-to-date information on the rollout of the Janssen Pharmaceuticals vaccine and the other FDA-approved vaccines for COVID-19. Presenters will be AMA President Susan Bailey, MD, and Peter Marks, MD, PhD, Director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Questions submitted by attendees will be addressed, as well. Register here.


KUMC Webinar: Medication Assisted Treatment waiver eligibility training (CME, CE available)
This free online session from noon to 5 p.m. April 30 will focus on buprenorphine treatment of opioid use disorder in an office-based setting. The standard Provider Clinical Support System will be presented and will qualify for the first half of training to receive the DATA 2000 buprenorphine waiver. 4 CME for physicians, as well as CE for nurses, pharmacists, physician assistants, and interprofessional credits are available at no cost.

Presenter Dr. Daniel Warren is the Medical Director at Wichita Treatment Center and also prescribes buprenorphine for opioid use disorder at HealthCore Clinic in Wichita. He is currently working at University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita to develop a community response to substance use, primarily by developing skills and training in the primary care workforce. Register here: https://www.eeds.com/byinviteonly/187383


No-cost HPV and Flu vaccine training available for CME and CNE
The Immunize Kansas Coalition is offering no-cost training to help improve vaccination among young people: one module for HPV vaccination (approx.. 30 min.) and one module for influenza vaccination (approx. 15 min.). The training modules are intended for medical and nursing staff members and teams addressing vaccine hesitancy and providing a strong recommendation for vaccination. There is no cost, and CME and CNE are available.