Last Friday marked another important legislative deadline. Bills that have passed either the House or the Senate had until this deadline to have been considered and passed out of committee by the other chamber in order to remain alive for further consideration. This week is the last of the "regular" session, leaving only bills exempted (budget, taxes, etc.) from normal legislative deadlines for work during the wrap-up session in May.
The health committees considered a significant number of bills affecting patients and providers. The following KMS-supported bills advanced from the Senate committee after securing House passage and will be voted upon by the full Senate this week.
- House Bill 2027 allowing providers of direct primary care (ie. concierge medicine) to bill patients for anatomic pathology services so long as the provider and the cost of services is disclosed to the patient. The contents of the following bill, HB 2045, were amended in to HB 2027.
- House Bill 2045 reinstates institutional licenses for physicians employed by state institutions to provide mental health services under a protocol with a physician holding an unrestricted license. The bill was also amended to strengthen protections for physicians who make good faith reports, pursuant to state law, about other practitioners who have committed acts which are grounds for disciplinary action by the Board. Under current law, reporting physicians are granted immunity when such reports are made in good faith. This amendment allows reporting physicians to be awarded attorney's fees and expenses in the event they have to defend themselves if they are sued for making such reports.
- House Bill 2121 requires physicians to report vaccinations to the state's immunization registry, webIZ, beginning in 2020, allowing time to ensure compliance and EMR compatibility.
- House Bill 2044 expanding KanCare, our state's Medicaid program to more than 144,000 uninsured Kansans, passed out of the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee and is slated for debate by the full Senate on Monday, March 27.
- House Bill 2217 establishes a statewide protocol for the procurement, administration and reporting of opioid antagonists by first responders, school nurses, bystanders and law enforcement. Kansas was just one of four states that had not passed legislation relating to opioid antagonists.
- House Bill 2026 now includes the contents of Senate Bill 69, a bill introduced by a group of health care provider organizations, including KMS, to address unresolved problems within the KanCare program. The bill is aimed to increase standardization, encourage uniform processes and to improve the appeals process for claims adjudication. SB 69 passed the Senate 36-4, and its contents were then amended into HB 2026 so as to provide a second means of passing this legislation to the House for consideration prior to first adjournment on Friday, March 31.
Though these are the bills that remain active this session, there are dozens of other bills affecting the practice of medicine that were introduced, heard, defeated and stalled over the course of the session. The KMS Legislative Committee met to discuss each of them; to clearly form and articulate our position and to ensure the best possible representation of Kansas physicians on each of these legislative proposals. Over the legislative break and during the summer and fall, we will continue to study those proposals likely to resurface in the future.