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LEGISLATIVE UPDATE
Posted on Monday, March 20, 2017

March 17, 2017 | Bill Tracker

Prepared by: Dodie Wellshear, Ad Astra Government Relations

 

Senate to Take Up KanCare Expansion

The Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee will begin hearings on HB 2044,* the KanCare expansion bill sent over from the House, on Monday. HB 2044 originally would have required “clubhouse recreational” mental health programs to be covered under KanCare. However, after a bill to expand KanCare was stalled in the House Health and Human Services Committee, Rep. Susan Concannon, R-Beloit, moved to add the contents of the expansion bill into HB 2044 in floor debate. The bill passed the House, 81-44.

The Senate hearings begin on Monday, March 20, with testimony from the proponents. Dr. Jeremy Presley, Dodge City, will present on behalf of KAFP. His testimony will focus on the obligation physicians have to their patients and on personal stories of patients that have had poorer health outcomes, due to their lack of health insurance.

The hearings will continue on Tuesday, with testimony from those who oppose or are neutral on the bill, with committee action expected later in the week.

Psychiatry Student Loan Program

SB 32*, a bill that would establish loans and scholarships for psychiatry students and residents, is now on its way to the governor for signature. These mirror the Medical Student Loan Program and the Medical Residency Bridge Program, currently available to those planning to practice primary care in an under-served county in Kansas.

KAFP originally opposed the legislation, because it would have simply added psychiatry to the list of specialties allowed under the programs for primary care. The Senate amended the bill to establish separate programs for psychiatry, before sending it to the House for consideration. Once the separate programs were provided in SB 32, KAFP removed its opposition and testified in support of the bill in the House Health and Human Services Committee.

Restoring KanCare Provider Cuts

Two bills aimed at restoring the four-percent cuts to KanCare providers, SB 94* and HB 2180*, received legislative action in the last week. Both bills increase the privilege fees on MCOs to 5.77%, with the first proceeds of the increase going to restore the provider cuts initiated in 2016. SB 94 goes on to say that any remaining funds would go into the KanCare program for medical assistance payments. The bill passed the Senate, 27-13.

HB 2180 expends the proceeds from the privilege fee increase in a three-tiered priority, beginning with the provider cut restoration. Following that, the bill requires $3.5 million in FY 2018 and $15 million in subsequent years be provided for care by community mental health centers. Finally, any remaining funds would stay in the KanCare program for medical assistance. HB 2180 was voted favorably out of the House Appropriations Committee and awaits action by the full House.

Another bill, HB 2065, had a hearing in the House Health and Human Services Committee on Thursday. It is similar, except it would also increase the fees on hospital providers. KAFP entered testimony supporting the MCO increase, but opposing the increase on hospitals.

In his budget, Governor Brownback called for the fee increases, but would have had any funds remaining after the restoration of provider cuts shifted to the State General Fund and not dedicated to Medicaid services.

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. R.C. Trotter, Dodge City; Dr. John Feehan, Olathe; Dr. Todd Miller, Wichita; and Dr. Deb Doubek, Manhattan.

The service you provide is appreciated, especially at a time when most legislators are away from their hometown physicians.

 

Committee Hearings Week of March 20-24

Following are committee hearings related to KAFP priorities. Please note, the calendar is subject to change.

Monday, March 20

9:30 am, S-Public Health & Welfare, Room 346-S

Hearing on: HB 2044 – KanCare Bridge to a Healthy Kansas Program (proponents)

Tuesday, March 21

9:00 am, H-Federal & State Affairs, Room 346-S

Hearings:

·         HB 2307 – Withholding life-sustaining treatment from patients under 18 y/o

·         HB 2308 – Suicide evaluation upon admission to certain treatment facilities

9:30 am, S-Public Health & Welfare, Room 548-S

Hearing on: HB 2044 – KanCare Bridge to a Healthy Kansas Program (opponents and neutral)

Wednesday, March 22

9:30 am, S-Public Health & Welfare, Room 118-N

Hearing: HB 2217* – Standards regarding emergency opioid antagonists

 

*Where available, bill numbers link to Supplemental Notes, which provide explanations and details of the bills.