The Kansas Legislature convened on January 9 to begin the 90-day session. Of the 165 legislators, about a third of them are serving in their first term and all are preparing for the difficult task of balancing the state budget and funding necessary services. Committees have begun meeting and bills have already begun to advance through the process.
Last, week the Kansas Medical Society introduced three bills in the House Health and Human Services committee.
- HB 2027 allows physicians providing medical retainer agreement services (also called concierge medicine and direct primary care) to bill patients directly for anatomic pathology services as long as the provider of such services and the cost is disclosed to the patient. The same language was introduced last year but failed to advance to the Senate. A hearing on HB 2027 has been scheduled for Wednesday, January 18.
- HB 2045 re-instates institutional licenses for individuals employed by state institutions providing mental health services pursuant to a written protocol with a licensed physician.
- HB 2046 enacts licensure of anesthesiologist assistants (AAs) under the Board of Healing Arts. Currently, AAs are licensed in 14 states, including Missouri. They are trained in the physician assistant model and work under the direct supervision of an anesthesiologist.
Other bills of interest include HB 2029 which establishes regulation allowing cannabidiol investigational products to be prescribed and dispensed upon FDA approval. HB 2030 would allow pharmacists to administer vaccinations to children 6 years of age and older.
Governor Brownback delivered his State of the State address last Tuesday night and it included several proposals aimed to affect health care delivery and access. Though he remains firmly opposed to Medicaid expansion, he suggested increasing the hospital tax to provide enough revenue to roll back the 4 percent cut in provider reimbursement enacted last Spring. The tax increase would largely affect large, urban hospitals and is opposed by the Kansas Hospital Association.
The Governor is also seeking support to build a private osteopathy school in Wichita in the hopes that it will increase the number of physicians practicing in rural Kansas. To bolster this effort, he designated $5,000,000 in his proposed budget as "seed money" for osteopathic residency programs. The details to these proposals will be forthcoming as the legislature reviews the Governor's budget in the coming weeks.