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Vote for KMS officers & trustees

Ballots for the 2016 KMS Board of Trustees election were recently mailed to all members. If you haven't yet returned your ballot, we urge you to do so as soon as possible. This is the third time all KMS members have the opportunity to vote on the election of the physicians who will lead our organization. Previously, only those physicians who attended the House of Delegates meeting as a delegate had the opportunity to vote. We are excited about this change and continue to appreciate enhanced member engagement in this most-important process.

To cast your vote electronically members may visit our website at www.kmsonline.org/election. If you have questions, the KMS office at 800.332.0156.

Atchison physician to run for House seat

John Eplee, MD, an Atchison family physician and KMS Past President, has filed to run for the House of Representatives. Eplee, a Republican, made his candidacy official earlier this week. He will be running in House District 63--a seat currently held by 12-term Representative Jerry Henry. Henry has announced plans to run for the Senate.

Free Medicare Part B education

Ruth Cornwall; KMS Director of Health Care Finance

KMS and KaMMCO will offer a free teleconference on January 21 from 9-11am with Wisconsin Physician Services (WPS) Medicare Part B to provide information on several topics. Topics included in this teleconference include:

  • What's New for 2016
  • ICD-10-CM
  • Comprehensive Error Rate Testing (CERT)
  • Incentives and Payment Adjustments
  • Physician Compare
  • New Prolonged Service Codes

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KMS establishes Leadership Institute; register today

Allison Peterson; KMS Director of Communications & Membership

In today's evolving health system, the need for physicians with strong leadership skills has never been greater. In order to help prepare the physician community to meet this need, the Kansas Medical Society has just announced the establishment of its new physician Leadership Institute. The Institute is a partnership between KMS and the Wichita-based Kansas Leadership Center; it is being made possible through the generous support of the KaMMCO Foundation.

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Legislature convenes January 11

ColomboRachelleWEBRachelle Colombo; KMS Director of Government Affairs

The 2016 Legislative Session is officially upon us. Monday marks the first of 90 days allotted for the Legislature to conduct its constitutionally required business, of which balancing the budget and funding essential state services are the two most important.

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Register today for Leadership Institute

Allison Peterson; KMS Director of Communications & Membership

The Kansas Medical Society recently announced the establishment of its new physician Leadership Institute. The Institute is a partnership between KMS and the Wichita-based Kansas Leadership Center; it is being made possible through the generous support of the KaMMCO Foundation.

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Legislators settle in; begin work

ColomboRachelleWEBRachelle Colombo; KMS Director of Government Affairs

The Kansas Legislature officially convened on Monday and already committees have begun to meet and consider new legislation. The Governor outlined his priorities during Tuesday evening's State of the State address and then released his budget recommendations the following morning. The House Appropriations and Senate Ways and Means Committees are working through the proposed budget as well as recommendations contained in the state-commissioned efficiency study conducted by outside consulting firm Alvarez & Marsal. With elections looming for all 165 legislators there is a unified desire to balance the state budget as smoothly and quickly as possible.

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Input needed: KanCare experience

KFMC is conducting a KanCare Provider Experience Survey on behalf of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Division of Health Care Finance. The brief survey covers a variety of provider experience questions and is designed to help ensure that the KanCare program is as responsive and provider-friendly as possible. The survey is estimated to take approximately 5 minutes to complete. Providers are requested to respond to the survey by Friday, January 29, 2016.

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Legislators complete week 2; bills of interest

ColomboRachelleWEBRachelle Colombo; KMS Director of Government Affairs

Week two of the legislative session was short but busy with a number of bill introductions, hearings and discussions on subjects lingering from last session. Following the Governor's comments in the State of the State address regarding access to health care for rural and uninsured Kansans, Lieutenant Governor Jeff Colyer, MD appointed a nine-member Rural Health Working Group. The group is chaired by the Lieutenant Governor and includes the chairs of the health committees, two rural legislators, a hospital CEO, the Secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, the Kansas Health Institute Policy Director and rural physician, Jennifer Cook, MD. The nine-member group is charged with addressing health care delivery problems in rural Kansas and will report to the Governor in early 2017.

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Budget woes dominate legislative work

ColomboRachelleWEBRachelle Colombo; KMS Director of Government Affairs

The state budget continues to dominate the work and mood of the legislature as they grapple with closing the current budget deficit and making appropriations for the coming fiscal year. Included in the Governor's Budget Recommendation was the implementation of "step therapy" for Medicaid recipients, a requirement that a patient must first fail on lower-cost drugs before being able to step up to newer, higher-cost medications. If passed, the bill is estimated to save the state $11 million in Medicaid expenditures.

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Committees advance health-related bills

ColomboRachelleWEBRachelle Colombo; KMS Director of Government Affairs

The first legislative deadline requiring all bills to be heard in their house of origin is approaching in the coming weeks. As such, committees are busy allowing the last bill introductions, holding bill hearings and working those issues they hope to advance this session.

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Learn about new payment models: register today

Time is running out to register for an important webinar. Make your plans today to join KMS and our partner, the Kansas Healthcare Collaborative in a one-hour webinar beginning at 12pm on February 18. This program will expose physician practices to the tools and resources available so you can successfully transition from "volume-based reimbursement" to "value-based payments."

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Legislature completes a significant week

ColomboRachelleWEBRachelle Colombo; KMS Director of Government Affairs

Last week was significant for the 2016 legislature for a number of reasons. The session is nearly to the halfway mark known as "turn-around" when all bills must pass one chamber and move to the other to advance towards final enactment. After last year's contentious, marathon session, both the House and Senate hoped to have a swift, controversy-free session focused on meeting the state's basic funding obligations and little else. The legislature has spent the past month working towards a plan to close the nearly $200 million budget shortfall before adjourning and facing re-election.

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Leadership Institute program going on the road

Allison Peterson; KMS Director of Communications & Membership

Register before all the seats are taken! After a successful kick-off on January 29, the KMS Leadership Institute's one-day experience is going statewide. Strong positive feedback from those who attended the first event in Wichita prompted the decision to expand this important leadership learning opportunity to physicians in other parts of the state.

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Legislature nears first big deadline

ColomboRachelleWEBRachelle Colombo; KMS Director of Government Affairs

The House and Senate forwarded an agreed-upon budget to the Governor last week, completing their principal constitutional legislative duty. In light of this progress, leaders agreed to move up legislative deadlines, requiring members to conclude most committee work last week.

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Last days to register for March Leadership Institute

Allison Peterson; KMS Director of Communications & Membership

Last days to register for next week's event! After a successful kick-off on January 29, the KMS Leadership Institute's one-day experience is going statewide. Strong positive feedback from those who attended the first event in Wichita prompted the decision to expand this important leadership learning opportunity to physicians in other parts of the state.

Read more ...

Legislature passes "turnaround"

ColomboRachelleWEBRachelle Colombo; KMS Director of Government Affairs

The Legislature has completed "turnaround," its first major working deadline, by which most bills must have passed their house of origin and move to the opposite chamber for consideration. Some bills are exempt from the deadline (such as tax and spending bills), while others are allowed to be kept alive for further consideration by being "blessed," which gives the legislature more time to study and consider those bills.

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Legislature adjourns for spring break

ColomboRachelleWEBRachelle Colombo; KMS Director of Government Affairs

In what is likely to be a new record, the Legislature completed the main part of its work and reached first adjournment on Thursday, after just 67 days. Legislators will return on April 27 for the traditional "wrap-up session," in which conference committees will reconcile differences between House and Senate positions on numerous bills, as well as making any final adjustments to the state budget. However, by addressing the budget deficit for the current fiscal year as well as passing a plan to respond to the Kansas Supreme Court's ruling on the school finance issue, the legislature took a big step toward fulfilling its basic constitutional duties. Though a myriad of issues remain unresolved, all action now halts until the end of April when legislators reconvene.

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Governor announces Medicaid cuts

The Brownback administration has announced plans to cut most Medicaid (KanCare) provider fees effective July 1st by 4% as part of a broad-based effort to pare state spending in order to balance the state budget. Rural critical access hospitals were exempted from the cuts. The cuts will affect all physician services statewide, however. KMS expressed concerns to administration officials that physician payment cuts are likely to adversely impact access to care, and will inevitably result in higher overall costs to the program. If the cuts cause physicians to drop out of the program, or place strict limits on the number of Medicaid patients they are able to see in their offices, more care will be delivered in hospital emergency departments, which are considerably more expensive settings than a physician clinic.

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Legislature completes work

ColomboRachelleWEBRachelle Colombo; KMS Director of Government Affairs

The 2016 Legislative Session officially adjourned after meeting for a brief, five-day wrap-up session. Legislators returned to Topeka the final week of April to address the budget shortfall and finalize lingering legislation. Though last year's session was the longest in Kansas history, stretching more than 100 days, this spring was a different story. Just three days into the wrap-up session, talk of final adjournment began and the race was on to push priority pieces through the final process.

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Webinar: Medicaid payment cuts

In order to balance the state budget, the Brownback administration cut provider fees by four percent, effective July 1, 2016. KMS has expressed concerns regarding these cuts which are likely to adversely impact access to care and increase the overall cost to the program as some physicians may drop out of the program or limit the number of patients they treat forcing patients to seek treatment in hospital emergency departments.

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