Following Turnaround Day on Thursday, February 24, more than 40 health-related bills remain alive for legislators to consider when they return on March 1, including bills related to the sales tax on food, child welfare, scope of practice, eligibility for public programs, and the health care workforce. The Legislature also will return to work on redistricting and the budget.
Health at the Capitol is a weekly summary providing highlights of the Kansas legislative session, with a specific focus on health policy related issues. Sign up here to receive these summaries and more, and also follow KHI on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Previous editions of Health at the Capitol can be found on our ARCHIVE PAGE.
Health-related bills that remain in play for the second half of the session include those listed below.
House Bill (HB) 2004 would allow a resident of an adult residential care facility to appeal a pending involuntary discharge or transfer from an adult residential care facility to the Secretary of the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) and provide for notification procedures and conditions for transfer or discharge.
HB 2110, as amended, would require the State Employee Health Plan (SEHP), for plan year 2023, to provide coverage for the diagnosis and prescribed treatment for pediatric acute-onset neuropsychiatric syndrome (PANS) and pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcal infections (PANDAS), for the purpose of studying the utilization and cost of such coverage. The bill also would require the State Employees Health Care Commission to submit a report to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House on or before March 1, 2024, stating the impact that the mandated coverage for PANS and PANDAS had on the SEHP.
HB 2115, as amended, would establish the Joint Committee on Child Welfare System Oversight. The bill would outline the topics for Joint Committee review, provide for the appointment and compensation of Joint Committee members, establish the frequency of meetings, require an annual report to designated House and Senate leadership positions and certain standing committees, allow for professional services, and authorize the Joint Committee to make recommendations and introduce legislation.
Senate Substitute (Sub.) for HB 2279 would amend provisions in the Kansas Nurse Practice Act governing the licensure of advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), including to allow an APRN to prescribe drugs without a written protocol as authorized by a responsible physician, require an APRN to maintain malpractice insurance, and require national certification for initial licensure as an APRN. The bill also would modify the definition of “mid-level practitioner” in both the Pharmacy Act of the State of Kansas and the Uniform Controlled Substances Act to conform with amendments to the written protocol requirements within the Act.
Senate Sub. for HB 2280 would allow prescribers to prescribe U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved drugs, including, but not limited to, hydroxychloroquine sulfate and ivermectin, for the off-label use of preventing or treating COVID-19 infection. The bill would allow such prescriptions even if the patient has not been exposed to or tested positive for COVID-19. Such authorization would not apply to any controlled substances described in law relating to crimes involving controlled substances. The bill would provide that recommendations, prescriptions, uses or opinions of a prescriber related to treatment of COVID-19, including treatment that is not recommended or regulated by the State Board of Healing Arts (BOHA), the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) or the FDA, would not be considered unprofessional conduct. The bill would apply these provisions retroactively to any disciplinary action taking place on or after March 12, 2020 and would require BOHA to independently review all disciplinary action and rescind any such action prohibited by the bill. The bill also would amend the Pharmacy Act of the State of Kansas to prohibit pharmacists from refusing to fill or refill any prescription on the basis of such prescription being used to treat or prevent a COVID-19 infection and amend law relating to child care facilities and schools to provide that children and students enrolling in a child care facility, school or preschool or a day care facility operated by a school, would be exempt from immunizations required by the Secretary of KDHE and the exemption would be granted without inquiring into the sincerity of the request.
Sub. for HB 2281, as amended, would create the Living, Investing in Values, and Ending Suicide (LIVES) Act and implement the established 988 Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Hotline in Kansas. The bill also would outline the responsibilities of KDADS, hotline centers and service providers; impose a fee to support the hotline in the amount of $0.20 per month per subscriber account of any exchange telecommunications service and other voice services; establish the 988 Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Fund; and direct, in addition to the 988 fees, that $3 million from the State General Fund be transferred annually to the Hotline Fund. Additionally, the bill would provide certain protections from liability for service providers, prohibit the imposition of 988 fees other than those established by the bill, create the 988 Coordinating Council, and require an annual report from the Council to select legislative standing committees.
HB 2388 would require health benefit plans to provide coverage for any professional service performed by a licensed pharmacist if the service is within the practice of pharmacy; the plan would have covered the service if performed by a physician, advanced practice registered nurse or physician assistant; and the pharmacist is part of the plan’s network.
Sub. for HB 2463 would prohibit any state agency from making any “substantive or material change” to KanCare beginning on the effective date of the act through January 1, 2025. The bill would extend through December 31, 2024, the KanCare program in existence on the effective date of the act and require the Secretary of KDHE to negotiate and take actions necessary to extend contracts with the current Managed Care Organizations for the administration and provision of benefits under KanCare through December 31, 2024 and submit to the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) any approval request necessary to implement the extension. The bill would not prevent any state agency from taking any action required by an act or appropriation act of the Legislature, federal law, or CMS. Prior to January 1, 2025, and when the Legislature is not in session, the bill would provide for a state agency to submit to the Legislative Coordinating Council a request to make a substantive or material change to KanCare.
HB 2620, as amended, would create the crime of interference with the conduct of a hospital, which would be defined as conduct at or in a hospital so as to knowingly deny an employee of the hospital to enter, to use the facilities of, or to leave any such hospital; knowingly impeding any employee of a hospital from the performance of such employee’s duties or activities through the use of restraint, abduction, coercion, or intimidation, or by force and violence or threat thereof; or knowingly refusing to leave a hospital upon being requested to leave by the employee charged with maintaining order in such hospital, if such person is committing, threatens to commit, or incites others to commit any act that did, or would if completed, disrupt, impair, interfere with, or obstruct the mission, processes, procedures, or functions of the hospital.
HB 2632, which would expand existing Adrian’s Law to require a forensic medical evaluation of an alleged victim of child abuse or neglect as part of an investigation; create a program in KDHE for the training of and payment for Child Abuse Review and Evaluation (CARE) providers who conduct CARE exams; and would establish definitions, requirements and procedures related to CARE examinations and providers and create the CARE Fund.
HB 2675 would create the Kansas Innovative Solutions for Affordable Healthcare Act. The bill directs the Secretary of KDHE to submit a request to CMS to provide medical assistance eligibility to individuals with modified adjusted gross income that does not exceed 138 percent of the federal poverty level, consistent with the terms of Medicaid expansion under the federal Affordable Care Act, and also requires KDHE to refer unemployed adults seeking coverage under the act to the KANSASWORKS program. The Secretary of Commerce is directed to certify to KDHE that the referred individuals are complying with this requirement and will track their employment outcomes and progress toward employment. The bill also provides for termination of the coverage over a 12-month period if the federal medical assistance percentage drops below 90 percent.
HB 2700 would require the Department for Children and Families (DCF) to review certain needs and attachments of a child before consenting to an adoption and require the court to make a finding that such review was conducted by DCF before entering an order of adoption. The assessment should include (1) the child’s current relationships with caregivers, relatives, siblings and others; (2) whether a family can best meet the child’s medical, physical, emotional, cultural and other specific needs; and (3) the child’s need to maintain and strengthen current healthy attachments.
Senate Bill (SB) 12, as amended, would require DCF to collaborate with community partners and stakeholders to develop a plan by January 31, 2023, for implementation beginning on July 1, 2023, of performance-based contracts to provide an array of evidence-based prevention and early intervention services for families at risk for out-of-home placement, families that have a child in out-of-home care, and children awaiting adoption. The bill also would require DCF to provide a status update and recommendations for continued progress and submit a proposal for the reinvestment of savings from reduced foster care caseloads into evidence-based prevention and early intervention programs designed to prevent the need for or reduce the duration of out-of-home placements to the Governor and Legislature no later than January 31, 2024.
SB 42 relates to the study and investigation of maternal deaths in the state. The bill would amend existing law to direct the Secretary of KDHE to take several actions, including working with health care providers and facilities to develop and implement performance measures, strengthening the ability of local health officers to generate and compile maternal health performance indicators, and establishing an external community review committee. The bill would authorize KDHE to have access to all law enforcement investigative information regarding a maternal death, including autopsy records, medical records of the mother and any DCF records indicating that the agency provided services to the mother. In addition to the actions currently taken by KDHE related to maternal deaths, it also would be required to use a social determinants of health review form that includes a section on racial inequities in health care, including racial discrimination and other factors related to racism and to work with health care providers and facilities to promote the continuity of maternal health care during and after pregnancy.
House Sub. for SB 158 would create the Kansas Medical Marijuana Regulation Act, the Kansas Medical Marijuana Regulation Program, and related funds for the Act; define terms related to the bill; amend law concerning crimes, child welfare, employment and discipline of certain medical professionals; create provisions to address federal re-scheduling of marijuana; and rename the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control, Kansas Department of Revenue as the Division of Alcohol and Cannabis Control.
SB 174 would update the scope of practice requirements for advanced practice registered nurses without a supervising physician, impose requirements and update certain licensure requirements.
SB 335 would amend K.S.A. 40-2222b to exempt certain business entities that provide health benefits through a self-funded health plan subject to the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and not subject to the jurisdiction of the Kansas Insurance Commissioner (i.e., association health plans subject to regulation by the U.S. Department of Labor) from payment of the annual 1 percent premium tax to the Kansas Insurance Department.
SB 339, as amended, would reduce the sales tax on food and food ingredients from 6.5 percent to 0 percent beginning on January 1, 2024; would add food and food ingredients to the list of items expressly subject to sales taxes imposed by cities, counties and Washburn University but would give cities and counties the authority to exempt all such sales from sales taxes levied by the city or county. Food and food ingredients would include bottled water, candy, dietary supplements, food sold through vending machines, prepared food (food sold in restaurants) and soft drinks but the definition does not include alcoholic beverages or tobacco. The bill also would permit any retailer in Kansas that collects sales tax on admission of viewing movies or films to retain the state portion of sales and use tax collected on sales of movie tickets and concessions sold on site from July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2024. Such retailers would be required to continue collecting and remitting the local portion of such sales and use taxes. On July 1, 2023, the bill also would expand the state sales and use tax rate of 0 percent currently applied only to residential and agricultural sales of gas, electricity, heat, propane gas, coal, wood and other fuel sources to all sales.
SB 340, as amended, would amend the Kansas Promise Scholarship Act to address the responsibilities of the State Board of Regents, the responsibilities of postsecondary institutions, and authorize the designation of additional eligible programs and fields of study, including agriculture, food and natural resources, education and training, law, public safety, corrections and security, and distribution and logistics. The bill also changes the eligibility requirements by requiring students to be U.S. citizens but removes the requirement that they be age 21 or older if they had not graduated from a secondary school within the 12 months prior to application and extends the time in which a student must complete the program from 30 months to 48 months from initial award of the scholarship.
SB 342 would provide a zero percent sales and compensating use tax rate for sales of food and food ingredients; provide for the levying of such tax by cities and counties; provide for an exemption for sales of farm products sold at farmers’ markets; and discontinuing the nonrefundable food sales tax credit. The bill excludes prepared food from the definition of “food and food ingredients” and also increases the distribution percentage of retail sales tax revenue that is deposited into the state highway fund from 16.154 percent to 18.222 percent.
SB 407, as amended, would change the household gross income eligibility requirement for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) from 250 percent of the 2008 federal poverty level to 250 percent of the current federal poverty level.
SB 425, as amended, would amend a law governing access, exchange and disclosure of information in the Revised Kansas Code for Care of Children to require the Secretary of DCF to disclose confidential agency records of a child alleged or adjudicated to be a child in need of care to the law enforcement agency investigating the alleged or substantiated report or investigation of abuse or neglect, regardless of the disposition of such report or investigation. The bill would require the records to include, but not be limited to: any information regarding such report or investigation; records of past reports or investigations concerning such child and such child’s siblings and the perpetrator or alleged perpetrator; and the name and contact information of the report or persons alleging abuse or neglect and case managers, investigators or contracting agency employees assigned to or investigating such report. The bill would clarify that a law enforcement agency investigating or receiving a report of a child who is alleged or adjudicated to be in need of care would be able to freely exchange information and the above-described records with persons or entities specified in continuing law and would add an investigating law enforcement agency to the lists of persons or entities with access to the official and social files of a child in need of care proceeding.
SB 440 would authorize occupational therapists (OTs) to provide limited services to patients without referral from a heath care provider (physician) and amend the Occupational Therapy Practice Act. The bill would allow OTs to evaluate and initiate occupational therapy treatment on a patient without referral from a health care practitioner and would create conditions under which an occupational therapist would be required to obtain a referral from an appropriate health care practitioner. The bill also would require licensed OTs actively practicing in the state to maintain professional liability insurance coverage and require the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts (BOHA) to determine the minimum level of coverage for such insurance through rules and regulations.
SB 453, as amended, would amend a statute concerning training for certified aides to work in adult care homes to allow licensed practical nurses to teach certain training courses. Current law requires unlicensed employees of an adult care home, with certain exceptions, who provide direct, individual care to residents, who do not administer medications to residents, and who have not completed a course of education and training relating to resident care and treatment approved by the Secretary of KDADS or are not participating in such a course, to successfully complete 40 hours of training in basic resident care skills. As evidence of successful completion of the training course, the bill would require certified aides to demonstrate competency in a list of skills identified and prescribed by the Secretary. The bill would require the skills demonstration to be evaluated by a registered professional nurse licensed, including multi-state licensure privilege, and in good standing in Kansas, with at least one year of licensed nursing experience providing care for the elderly or chronically ill in a health care setting.
SB 466 would amend existing law related to responses to infectious or contagious disease, including making it unlawful for a place of public accommodation to refuse to provide service, a product, admission, or transportation to persons based on their vaccination status or whether they have an immunity passport; prohibiting any city, county or public official from ordering or requiring the wearing of face masks based on an epidemic or other public health reason; and removing mask mandates from the list of orders that may be issued by a local health officer.
SB 501 would require able-bodied adults without dependents to complete an employment and training program in order to receive food assistance; require state agencies to conduct cross-checks to verify public assistance eligibility; require KDHE to seek approval to eliminate mandatory hospital presumptive eligibility; require hospitals to follow standards established for presumptive eligibility determinations; and require state agencies to make data from fraud investigations relating to food assistance and medical assistance publicly available on their websites.