KHI News Service

Health Care Compact bill not taken up by conference committee

Committee members agree on bill to expand dental hygienist care

By Phil Cauthon | March 28, 2012

Reps. Brenda Landwehr (right), R-Wichita and Geraldine Flaharty. D-Wichita.

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Senate negotiators said today they have no interest in furthering a bill intended to challenge the federal government’s authority to set health policy.

However, they came to agreement with House negotiators on a bill to allow dental hygienists to provide more types of care to underserved patients.

Lead House negotiator Rep. Brenda Landwehr, R-Wichita, asked senators if they would be interested in taking up House Bill 2520, which would authorize Kansas participation in the Interstate Health Care Compact.

"I'm not brimming with thoughts on the topic," said Sen. Pete Brungardt, a Salina Republican. Brungardt is a member of the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee but also chairs the Committee on Federal and State Affairs, which has taken no action on the bill.

Sens. Vicki Schmidt, R-Topeka, and Pete Brungardt, R-Salina.

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Similar bills have passed and been signed into law in six states: Georgia, Texas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Utah and Indiana. Governors in Arizona, Montana and North Dakota have vetoed compact bills in their states.

Landwehr pressed Brungardt on whether he could allow the bill to be worked in the Federal and State conference committee.

"It's not a topic that I'm comfortable discussing in here," Brungardt said, adding later: "I may annul it."

On the dental hygienist measure, technical adjustments were the only difference between versions of HB 2631 passed by the House and by the Senate.

The House and Senate are expected to vote on the conference committee's recommendation Thursday or Friday.

More information on House Bill 2631.

Among other things, the bill would add a class of dental hygienist authorized to perform more procedures than currently allowed, including providing certain types of temporary fillings, smoothing chipped teeth, adjusting dentures and applying local anesthetics.

The conference committee also settled on the House version of Senate Bill 303, which the Senate later in the day voted to accept. The bill makes adjustments to regulations for the disposal of unclaimed cremated remains. It allows more time to elapse before a 30-day notice is given to kin that the ashes are about to be disposed.

The committee plans to meet again Thursday. Among the bills that may be taken up:

• SB 211 — would permit pharmacists to fill both a prescription and its refills at the same time, up to a three-month supply of the drug.

• SB 325 — would allow for the distribution to practitioners of free samples of Schedule V non-narcotic depressants. It also would add Carisoprodol, a muscle relaxant, to the Schedule IV controlled substances list and Ezogabine, an anticonvulsant, to the Schedule V list.

• SB 327 — among other things would lay out who could access data from the Prescription Monitoring Program and modify regulations to allow electronic prescriptions for controlled substances.

• SB 331 — would change the schedule for license renewal for salons and clinics regulated by the Kansas Board of Cosmetology.

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