During 2024 legislators may continue to examine licensure requirements and expanded scope of practice for some health care professionals, starting with bills that remain alive for this session. House Bill 2375, which would create a new type of temporary license for certain applicants who have graduated from a social work program, was passed by both chambers but included amendments that required the bill be sent to conference committee. Senate Bill 112, which would permit a registered nurse anesthetist to practice as an independent advanced registered nurse to the full extent of the scope of the licensee’s education and qualifications, was passed by the Senate and referred to the House Committee on Health and Human Services.
Legislators also may get the opportunity to consider legislation regarding licensing requirements for administrative positions in nursing facilities. One of the recommendations of the 2023 Special Committee on Nursing Facility Reimbursement Rate Methodology was for KLRD to explore the licensing requirements for these positions in other states, including which requirements are federal requirements and those that could be adjusted by the state. These positions, which are regulated in Kansas by the Board of Adult Care Home Administrators, require, at a minimum, a baccalaureate degree, completion of 480 hours of Administrator-in-Training Practicum, two letters of reference, passing scores on the state exam and the National Association of Long-Term Care Administrator Board exam, and fees for initial full licensure.
Legislators likely will continue their focus on child welfare matters and have the opportunity to consider legislation addressing various aspects of the state’s child welfare system. The Joint Committee on Child Welfare System Oversight, chaired by Sen. Beverly Gossage, met three times between June and October. The Committee received extensive testimony from parents, family members, advocates, providers and state officials expressing concerns and suggesting potential improvements in the system, including the performance requirements and priorities of guardians ad litem, including a potential shift to providing attorneys focused on representing a child’s rights, establishment of an independent office of the child advocate, addressing gaps in the availability of mental health services for foster children, and barriers to placement stability. The Committee voted to:
- Receive reports from DCF on fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, child welfare information from homeless encampments, and utility shutoff policies regarding homes with children.
- Request that staff draft legislation on changing the guardian ad litem fiduciary responsibility to the child and compare with provisions of 2023 House Bill 2381.
- Request reporting on any existing biological parent rights in child welfare proceedings.
- Request that Rep. Susan Concannon and Rep. Cyndi Howerton provide to the Joint Committee a template for standardized reporting from child welfare contractors.
Legislators also are likely to see a bill related to a new relational permanency option for older foster youth known as the SOUL (Support-Opportunity-Unity-Legal Relationships) Family Permanency program. The SOUL program is a new option designed by and for foster youth age 16 and older as they exit foster care that would provide them with a legal connection with one or more adults who are willing to support them as they transition to adulthood. On Oct. 4, 2023, the Joint Committee also voted to support the concept of the SOUL program legislation.
In addition to an acceleration of the elimination of the sales tax on food and food ingredients, which is currently scheduled to occur on Jan. 1, 2025, legislators also may return to bills introduced last year that would provide tax exemptions for organizations such as child care centers, Area Agencies on Aging, and Kansas Suicide Prevention HQ. While not directly related to health, it is likely that the Legislature will be considering one or more bills to establish a single tax rate for individuals and decreasing taxes for corporations.