March 24, 2017 | Bill Tracker
Prepared by: Dodie Wellshear, Ad Astra Government Relations
Working toward Adjournment
It’s hard to believe, but the Legislature will be adjourning the regular 2017 session in just two weeks, on April 6. Both health committees have steadily poured through a number of patient and provider issues, which will be finalized within the next two weeks.
Arguably the most important health legislation will be on HB 2044*, which would expand KanCare coverage to 200,000 more Kansans – most who are working, but fall into the gap of Medicaid and affordable coverage.
The Senate has set aside Monday, March 27, as “health” day, meaning they plan to debate all health bills, including HB 2044, and take final action on them.
The Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee held two days of impassioned hearings on HB 2044 early this past week. Dr. Jeremy Presley, Dodge City, spoke on behalf of KAFP and delivered arguably the most impactful, emotional testimony of the two days. He implored committee members to understand the positive benefits to Kansans, including patients he sees every day who forego many of their health care needs due to lack of insurance coverage – often to deadly outcomes.
Dr. Kevin Hoppock, Wichita, joined Dr. Presley, hospitals, community leaders, and consumers in urging the committee to pass HB 2044.
HB 2044 was passed favorably out of the Senate committee, upon an emotion-packed motion by Sen. Barbara Bollier, R-Mission Hills, who highlighted the import of such legislation to so many Kansas citizens and providers. Only two senators in attendance, Sen. Bud Estes, R-Dodge City and Sen. Jake LaTurner, R-Pittsburg voted against committee passage.
Again, the bill is expected to be debated in the full Senate on Monday.
Two Immunization Bills Advancing in Senate
Two key immunization bills, relating to adolescent immunizations and registry reporting, also passed favorably out of the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee this week. The committee amended the registry reporting requirements to be fully implemented beginning in July, 2020 (formerly in HB 2121) into the contents of HB 2030*, which would allow pharmacists to administer immunizations to those 12 years of age and older.
HB 2030, as introduced, would have dropped the age to six years, but discussion between pharmacists and physicians produced a compromise age of 12 and over. Physicians said this would allow youth to complete their “well-child” visits and ensure less fragmented care between health care providers.
HB 2030 is scheduled for full Senate action on Monday.
Anatomic Pathology Billing
Another bill that received favorable action by the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee this past week is a bill sought by a number of direct primary care providers. HB 2027* would allow physicians providing patient services pursuant to a medical retainer agreement to bill for anatomic pathology services, provided certain conditions are met:
- The patient’s bill must identify the lab or physician that performed the services;
- Written disclosure to patients the actual amount charged by the lab or physician;
- Consistent with regulations adopted by the Board of Healing Arts regarding appropriate bill standards in these circumstances.
KanCare Process and Transparency Bill Moving in the Senate
HB 2026* has been amended to address KanCare program issues – patient care, claims processing, transparency, and review – as identified by the federal CMS in letters denying a Kansas Medicaid waiver extension.
HB 2026 would give strong direction to the Kansas Secretary of Health and Environment, legally compelling specific patient care processes, program standards, and external independent review. These were originally contained in SB 69, but the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee put the contents of that bill into HB 2026 (the original contents of HB 2026 were amended into another, leaving it as an empty shell) so that, if passed by the Senate, the bill would be eligible for House-Senate conference committee negotiations.
A similar bill in the House received hearings, but failed to advance in that chamber.
*These bills link to Supplemental Notes, which provide an overview of the bills. These notes explain the bills and the action taken on them in a more understandable format.
Family Doctor of the Day
Thank you to the following for providing Family Doctor of the Day services for the Kansas Legislature this past week: Dr. Brian Holmes, Abilene; Dr. Gretchen Irwin, Andover; Dr. Cynthia Scheibe, Topeka; Dr. Keith Wright, Manhattan; and Dr. Jeremy Presley, Dodge City.
The service you provide is appreciated, especially at a time when most legislators are away from their hometown physicians.
Personal Note of Condolence
The meaning and value of our family members is beyond compare in life’s journey. Never is this more felt than when they pass on from us. My heartfelt prayers and condolences go out to Carolyn Gaughan and her family, in the loss of her father this week. Words fall short, but God’s comfort never does. May He be especially close to your family in this time of grief.