Despite another snowstorm, legislators met in person and virtually during the ninth week of the legislative session beginning March 7. They worked on bills related to workforce training; the regulatory authority of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and city and county health officials when dealing with contagious or infectious diseases; eligibility for food assistance; and amendments to the Kansas Emergency Management Act. Both Chambers continued to put together their budget proposals while the Senate Ways and Means Committee presented the GOP leadership plan for redistricting the 40 Senate districts for the 2024 election cycle. This edition of Health at the Capitol looks at health policy issues that were discussed during the ninth week of the session.
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.
On Monday, March 7, Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) Secretary Laura Howard named Kathy Stiffle as Superintendent of Kansas Neurological Institute effective March 28.
On Wednesday, March 9, the Senate confirmed Janet Stanek as KDHE Secretary.
House Health and Human Services Committee
(Rep. Brenda Landwehr, Chair)
On Monday, March 7, the Committee held a hearing on Senate Bill (SB) 343, passed by the Senate on February 15, which would replace references to “hearing impairment” and other similar terms in existing statutes with the terms “hard of hearing,” “hearing loss,” or “deaf.” Proponents included Sen. Kristen O’Shea; Sarah Hale, We the Deaf People; and Robert Cooper, Kansas Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF). Sen. O’Shea stated that the public needs to be educated regarding this change in terminology and provided examples of educational graphics, which state that deaf people believe “hearing impaired” is a negative, judgmental label. Hale stated that “hearing impaired” focuses on what deaf people can’t do and implies that something is broken and needs to be fixed. She further stated that the terms “deaf” or “hard of hearing” bring a more positive view. There was no opponent or neutral testimony, and the Committee passed the bill favorably out of Committee.
On Tuesday, March 8, the Committee held a hearing on SB 453, passed by the Senate on February 23, which would amend current law related to training for certified aides (CAs) to work in adult care homes. The bill would replace references to “unlicensed employees” in current law with “certified aides,” and add language allowing registered nurses (RNs) or licensed practical nurses (LPNs) who are licensed and in good standing to practice in Kansas, to be instructors of training courses on basic resident care skills. Proponents included Linda MowBray, Kansas Health Care Association and Kansas Center for Assisted Living; Shawn Sullivan, Midland Care Connection; Robert Miller, ComfortCare Homes and Comfort Keepers of Wichita; and Dr. Sheree Utash, Wichita State University. MowBray stated the bill would allow LPNs to teach CA courses under the general supervision of RNs; expand the number of CNA courses in the state; and allow RNs with experience in caring for the elderly or chronically ill to administer the skills demonstration portion of the CA competency evaluation regardless of the clinical setting of their experience; she said it does not change the curriculum or reduce the content, hours, skills or exam administered to students. Miller stated the bill would make a significant difference in getting more CA applicants trained and provide much-needed staff for home health care and long-term care facilities. Utash stated the bill will allow WSU to increase its training capacity while maintaining the quality of the courses. Opponents included Camille Russell, Kansas State Long Term Care Ombudsman; Kelly Sommers, Kansas State Nurses Association; Judy Bellome, AARP Kansas; and Mitzi McFatrich, Kansas Advocates for Better Care. McFatrich expressed concerns that the bill will create a new level of CA who will be allowed to provide hands-on care after receiving less than half of the 90 hours of training currently required for certified nursing aides (CNAs) and will reduce the required education for CA instructors from RNs to LPNs, which may translate to poorer care for older adults in care facilities. Sommers expressed concerns about CAs with only 40 hours of training being allowed to provide the same type of “skilled care” as CNAs with 90 hours of training. Neutral written testimony was submitted by Carol Moreland, Kansas State Board of Nursing. At the end of the hearing Chair Landwehr asked the proponents and opponents to work together to resolve their differences so the bill can address the workforce shortages in health care facilities.
On Wednesday, March 9, the Committee held a hearing on SB 440, passed by the Senate on February 23, which would amend the Occupational Therapy Practice Act and allow occupational therapists (OTs) to evaluate and initiate occupational therapy treatment on a patient without referral from a health care practitioner. The bill would create conditions under which an OT would be required to obtain a referral from a health care practitioner prior to continuing treatment if the patient:
- Is not progressing toward documented treatment goals as demonstrated by objective, measurable or functional improvement after 10 patient visits or in a period of 30 calendar days from the initial treatment visits following the initial evaluation or
- Within one year from the initial treatment visit following the initial evaluation visit, returns to the OT seeking treatment for the same conditions or injury.
The bill would not prevent a hospital or ambulatory surgical center from requiring a physician to order or make a referral for occupational therapy services for a patient currently being treated in such a facility and would require an OT to provide written notice to a self-referring patient, prior to commencing treatment, stating that an occupational therapy diagnosis is not a medical diagnosis by a physician. The bill also would require licensed OTs actively practicing in the state to maintain professional liability insurance coverage as a condition of rendering professional occupational therapy services and would require the Board of Healing Arts to determine the minimum level of coverage for such insurance through rules and regulations.
Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee
(Sen. Richard Hilderbrand, Chair)
On Tuesday, March 8, the Committee held a hearing on SB 489, which would amend several existing statutes related to contagious or infectious diseases to restrict or limit the powers of the Secretary of KDHE and local health officials. Proponents included Greg Smith, Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, and private citizens Melissa Campbell and Jill O’Conner. Smith stated the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office supports provisions in the bill that strike language that authorizes a local health officer or the Secretary to “order any sheriff, deputy sheriff or other law enforcement officer . . . to assist in the execution or enforcement of any order . . .” as this action could possibly put law enforcement in a dangerous situation that could place the public and law enforcement at greater risk. Campbell stated the statutes amended by this bill “have a profound impact on businesses” and the bill “wisely removes power from the county or joint board of health or local health officer to prohibit public gatherings as it pertains to attempting to control contagious disease.” Opponents included representatives of several county health departments, the Mid America Immunization Coalition, Kansas Association of Local Health Departments, Kansas Academy of Family Physicians, Kansas Association of Counties (KAC), and the Kansas Medical Society. In his testimony, Jay Hall, KAC, noted that “while COVID-19 is on our minds now, the changes made by SB 489 will be with us well into the future. We do not know what the next health crisis will be, how it will be transmitted, and who it may impact.” Written neutral testimony was submitted by Sheriff Jeff Easter, Kansas Sheriff’s Association. Committee members asked questions regarding who issues orders to law enforcement; whether local health officers are always elected positions; where the term “quarantine” is defined; how much county commissioners rely on local health officers for health-related decision making; what KAC’s position is on school shutdowns; what facilities are considered “essential;” and what the impact would be on counties responding to emergencies if the bill were to pass.
The Committee also worked Senate Substitute (Sub) for House Bill (HB) 2280, which would allow prescribers to prescribe drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ─ 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. The bill also would provide that recommendations, prescriptions, uses or opinions of a prescriber related to the treatment of COVID-19, including treatment that is not recommended or regulated by the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts (BOHA), KDHE or the federal Food and Drug Administration, would not be considered unprofessional conduct and would apply these provisions retroactively to any disciplinary action taking place on or after March 12, 2020, and 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 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 would 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 day care facility operated by a school, would be exempt from immunizations required by the Secretary of KDHE if such immunizations would violate sincerely held religious beliefs and such an exemption would be granted without inquiring into the sincerity of the request. Two amendments proposed by Sen. Beverly Gossage to clarify the language for the term “prescription” and to strike and replace the language for the bill to work prospectively instead of retroactively were adopted.
On Wednesday, March 9, the Committee held a hearing on SB 274, which would broaden the scope of practice for naturopathic doctors (NDs) and would establish procedures and actions that NDs can and cannot perform, provide a scope of naturopathic doctors’ ability to practice, require the maintenance of licenses, and provide provisions for action if violations occur. Proponent Laura Rues, ND, Kansas Naturopathic Doctor’s Association, stated that NDs are “asking to be able to practice consistent with our training, including limited prescriptive rights so that we can better serve Kansas and alleviate our stressed health care system.” Opponent Rachelle Colombo, KMS, argued that naturopaths “are not physicians and cannot oversee or delegate acts to other medical health care providers” and that their training “specifically limits them from prescribing prescription-only drugs and controlled substances, performing or interpreting diagnostic tests, and performing obstetrical care or invasive procedures.” Opponent written testimony was also submitted by J. Peter Rubin, American Society of Plastic Surgeons, and Vicki Whitaker, Kansas Association of Osteopathic Medicine. Neutral written testimony was provided by Susan Gile, BOHA. Committee members asked questions regarding the differences between naturopathic, allopathic and osteopathic doctors; why there are limitations on NDs’ ability to practice; how many NDs practice in Kansas; the number of ND programs and their graduation rates; and whether there are other states with similar legislation.
The Committee also held a hearing on SB 275, which would allow NDs to engage in the corporate practice of medicine by adding them to the list of medical professionals allowed to have a certificate of authorization, as a business entity, to practice medicine (also known as corporate practice of medicine). This bill is similar to SB 539 that was introduced this year and also would add acupuncturists to the list. Proponents Laura Rues, Kansas Naturopathic Doctor’s Association, and a representative of the Kansas Association of Oriental Medicine, stated that SB 275 would improve the ability of health care providers to work together, promote opportunities for integrative clinics, and provide more complete care for Kansans, while expanding economic opportunity. Opponent Rachelle Colombo, KMS, asserted that the bill would allow a naturopath to practice medicine under the employment of a corporation, compromising both medical care and all ethical standards of practice. There was written opponent testimony from Vicki Whitaker, Kansas Association of Osteopathic Medicine.
On Thursday, March 10, the Committee held a hearing on SB 501, which 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 from CMS 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. Proponent Sam Adolphsen, Opportunity Solutions Project, stated the bill “will protect welfare benefits for the truly needy and help move able-bodied Kansans from welfare to work.” Written proponent testimony was submitted by Steven Anderson, Medicaid Inspector General, Office of the Attorney General. Opponent testimony was submitted by more than 30 conferees, including representatives of numerous food banks and pantries, Kansas Children’s Service League, Kansas Appleseed Center for Law and Justice, Kansas Action for Children, American Heart Association, Kansas InterFaith Action, Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF), Kansas Council on Developmental Disabilities, KanCare Advocates Network and Oral Health Kansas, who generally stated that the bill would increase administrative burdens and inefficiencies in state government, at taxpayers’ expense; require additional, unnecessary verification steps for program participants; require significantly more participant data monitoring and exchange; and add barriers to the food assistance and Medicaid programs. Sarah Fertig, Medicaid Director, KDHE, provided neutral testimony but expressed concerns about the cost and feasibility of some provisions and noted that “creating the new data feeds and programming the state’s Medicaid eligibility and fiscal systems to process that data is estimated to cost approximately $2,000,000 all funds, including approximately $500,000 State General Fund (SGF).” Committee members asked questions regarding the potential costs and what enforcement tools would be needed to implement the bill; how other states have implemented similar legislation; the positive impact of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) on local and community groceries; how children and parents are impacted; what is considered an acceptable timeline when establishing a reporting protocol; what happens when hospitals identify an individual as ineligible for Medicaid after claiming presumptive eligibility; the current employment programs offered in Kansas; and why there would be a cost increase related to data sharing.
House Children and Seniors Committee
(Rep. Susan Concannon, Chair)
On Tuesday, March 8, the Committee held a hearing on SB 12, passed by the Senate on February 17, which would require DCF to collaborate with community partners and stakeholders to develop a plan for implementation of a set of performance-based contracts to provide evidence-based prevention and early intervention services for families at risk for an out-of-home placement, families that have a child in out-of-home care, and children who are awaiting adoption. The bill would require DCF to report to the Governor, the House Committee on Children and Seniors, and the Senate Committee on Public Health and Welfare by January 31, 2023, with a plan to begin implementation on July 1, 2023, and also would require DCF to provide a status update and recommendations for continued progress to the Governor and Legislature no later than January 31, 2024. The bill also would require DCF to submit a proposal to the Governor and Legislature on or before January 31, 2024, 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. Proponents included Sen. Oletha Faust-Goudeau and representatives of Kansas Appleseed Center for Law and Justice and Kansas Family Advisory Network.
House Social Services Budget Committee
(Rep. Will Carpenter, Chair)
On Wednesday, March 9, the Committee held a hearing on HB 2253, which would amend various statutes related to the State Board of Pharmacy and the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (K-TRACS), regarding persons permitted to receive program data; data security; user and delegate access; increasing the number of members of the prescription monitoring program advisory Committee; and providing for initial setup and annual maintenance fees to be charged for program data integration into any other electronic health or pharmacy record system approved by the board. Proponent Alexandra Blasi, Kansas Board of Pharmacy, stated that HB 2253 reflects recommendations made by the Board and the Advisory Committee, including amendments to:
- Increase K-TRACS utilization and ease of use
- Protect patient information and data security
- Provide more accurate and timely patient information to K-TRACS users
- Enhance opportunities for clinical intervention.
Blasi also discussed additional amendments to the bill related to new data collection fields, new requirements for Medicaid providers, and a fee-based funding mechanism for participants in the system that integrates K-TRACS information directly into the electronic heath records of prescribers and the pharmacy management systems of pharmacists to provide easier access to K-TRACS information. Blasi noted that all of these additional amendments were incorporated into SB 168, the companion bill to HB 2253, by the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee, which passed the bill, as amended, favorably out of Committee. Additional written proponent testimony was submitted by representatives of the Kansas State Board of Nursing, KMS and the Kansas Hospital Association. Neutral written testimony was provided by Sarah Fertig, State Medicaid Director, KDHE, and representatives of the Kansas Optometric Association and the Kansas Association of Osteopathic Medicine.
Senate Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee
(Sen. Jeff Longbine, Chair)
On Thursday, March 10, the Committee held a hearing on HB 2110, passed by the House on February 23, which 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. Proponents included Rep. John Eplee, M.D.; Tara Richardson, M.D.; Shannon Wright and Andi Bonge, parents of children diagnosed with PANS, and Mason Lough, diagnosed with PANDAS at age 15. Additional written proponent testimony was submitted by parents and individuals diagnosed with PANS. Larrie Ann Brown, Cigna, provided neutral testimony and noted that if legislators later decide to mandate coverage for PANS/PANDAS for health plans regulated by the state, specifically plans that comply with the requirements of the federal Affordable Care Act, the state must cover the annual cost of any mandated benefits which are determined “in excess” of the essential benefits package currently in place for plans sold through the Kansas marketplace.
Senate Judiciary Committee
(Sen. Kellie Warren, Chair)
On Monday, March 7, the Committee held a hearing on SB 541, which would create law regarding actions taken by a city related to contagious or infectious disease, COVID-19 vaccination passports and face mask requirements. The bill also would amend law in the Kansas Emergency Management Act (KEMA) and public health statutes related to contagious or infectious disease, remove the sunset provision in the COVID-19 Contact Tracing Privacy Act, and amend law related to student vaccination exemptions. The bill includes various provisions related to actions taken by the Governor or local unit of government, including:
- Requiring compensation for the use, restriction on use, damage, loss or destruction of property as a result of certain governmental actions, including orders, resolutions or ordinances related to a contagious or infectious disease issued by the state, county, city or other political subdivision of the state that mandates the wearing of face masks, limits the size of gatherings of individuals, restricts the operation of business, controls the movement of persons or limits religious gatherings.
- Providing that a city ordinance or action related to a contagious or infectious disease that mandates the wearing of face masks, limits the size of gatherings, restricts the operation of business, controls the movement of persons or limits religious gatherings, shall not exceed 30 days in duration at a time before being renewed or allowed to expire. Any party aggrieved by such decision of the city may file a civil action, within 30 days after the issuance of the decision, in the district court of the county where the city is located and would require the court to conduct a hearing within 72 hours of receiving a petition in such action.
- Prohibiting school officials from issuing or requiring use of a COVID-19 vaccination passport or discriminating against a student based upon COVID-19 vaccination status. Postsecondary educational institutions, the State Board of Education, local boards of education, schools or school officials shall not (1) issue a COVID-19 vaccination passport to any individual without the individual’s consent; (2) require an individual to use a COVID-19 vaccination passport for any purpose, or (3) refuse access to education or a place accessible to the general public or separate an individual from others based on such individual’s COVID-19 vaccination status.
- Requiring schools to recognize exemptions from face mask mandates. If a school district or any school building or activity requires some or all students, district personnel or visitors to wear a face mask, any student, district personnel or visitor with a medical condition or religious opposition preventing the wearing of a face mask shall not be required to wear a mask on school property or at school activities if such person presents: (1) a written statement, signed by a licensed physician or parent or guardian or signed by the person if such person is 18 years of age or older, stating the physical condition of the person to be such that wearing a face mask would seriously endanger the life or health of the person; (2) a written statement, signed by one parent or guardian or signed by the person if such person is 18 years of age or older, stating that wearing a face mask would violate sincerely held religious beliefs of the person. The person shall be granted the exemption requested without inquiring into the sincerity of the request. No student, district personnel or visitor who has presented a certification or other documentation under this section shall be (1) denied enrollment or full, in-person participation in any school activity because of such action; or (2) segregated or separated from other individuals because of such action.
- Amending current law that requires schools to recognize exemptions from vaccination requirements to require the granting of exemptions due to sincerely held religious beliefs without inquiring into the sincerity of the request.
- Amending current law to require that if the Secretary takes any action related to a contagious or infectious disease that mandates the wearing of face masks, limits the size of gatherings, restricts the operation of business, controls the movement of persons or limits religious gatherings, such action shall: (1) be narrowly tailored to the purpose of the action and use the least restrictive means to achieve such purpose; and (2) not exceed 30 days in duration at a time before such action shall be renewed, modified, rescinded or allowed to expire.
- Prohibiting schools and child care facilities from denying access to facilities unless there are reasonable grounds to believe that the person is actually infected with a disease suspected of being infectious or contagious.
- Authorizing reimbursement of property taxes levied upon businesses shut down or restricted as a result of certain governmental actions related to contagious or infectious disease.
Proponents included Eric Stafford, Kansas Chamber, and six individual citizens. Stafford stated that the Kansas Chamber was specifically testifying in support of “section 1 of the bill regarding compensation for government ‘uses’ or restrictions on business activity.” Written testimony from the individual citizens detailed their personal experiences of how they or members of their families were impacted by the state’s response to COVID-19. Opponents included representatives of the Kansas State Board of Education, Kansas Association of Local Health Departments, Mid America Immunization Coalition, Kansas Association of Counties, Kansas Academy of Family Physicians, League of Kansas Municipalities, Kansas Association of School Boards, and various county health departments and cities. Neutral testimony was provided by Rep. Trevor Jacobs, who expressed concern that the bill does not adequately protect the free exercise of religion guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.
On Wednesday, March 9, the Committee worked SB 541 and amended the bill to:
- Add language in KEMA to limit the powers of the Governor and local units of government during emergencies with respect to the free exercise of religion.
- Remove two sections governing compensation for property affected by governmental actions and property tax relief for businesses affected by governmental shutdowns or restrictions.
- Remove provisions pertaining to mask requirements in schools and insert provisions prohibiting any governmental entity or public official from requiring face masks as a response to contagious or infectious disease.
The Committee then passed SB 541, as amended, favorably out of Committee. The Committee also removed the contents of HB 2416 (introduced in 2021 and enacted in 2021 SB 40) and inserted the sections just removed from SB 541 related to compensation for governmental use of property and property tax relief for businesses affected by governmental shutdowns or restrictions related to contagious or infectious disease, and recommended that Senate Sub for HB 2416 be passed.
House Appropriations Committee
(Rep. Troy Waymaster, Chair)
On Wednesday, March 9, the Committee received and reviewed the budget reports for DCF and KDADS, as presented by Rep. Will Carpenter. The Committee adopted the Social Services Budget Committee’s recommendation to concur with the Governor’s recommendation for the DCF budgets for fiscal year (FY) 2022 and adopted the recommendation for FY 2023, with several adjustments, including:
- Adding $5 million, all SGF, for workforce recruitment and retention incentives for child placing agencies and licensed facilities, including qualified residential treatment programs, and language to lapse the SGF funding if the request submitted to the SPARK Advisory Panel for federal COVID funds by the Children’s Alliance of Kansas is approved.
- Adding $500,000, all SGF, for Safe Families for Children – Kansas for the purpose of expanding their program in the Kansas City and Wichita metro areas, as well as Southeast Kansas area, if able within the funding, and language requiring the Secretary of DCF to submit a status report to the House Committee on Social Services Budget on or before January 1, 2023. This additional funding would create a total of $796,240 for Safe Families for Children – Kansas.
- Adding $450,000, all SGF, to recruit, retain and train CALM (a private placing agency in Emporia) Bonus Social Workers and CALM Super Parents.
- Adding language requiring the agency to provide the Cerebral Palsy Research Foundation of Kansas with $125,000, from existing resources, for the purpose of purchasing and providing durable medical equipment for individuals with disabilities.
- The Budget Committee strongly supports the Children’s Alliance of Kansas request submitted to the SPARK Advisory Panel for expenditures totaling $24 million for the purpose of emergency child welfare workforce recruitment and retention incentives ($10 million, including the $5 million noted above), establishing a grant fund for child placing agencies to develop pilot programs to serve youth with complex needs who are placed in foster care ($10 million), and workforce needs for psychiatric residential treatment facilities ($4 million).
The Committee also adopted the Budget Committee’s recommendation to concur with the Governor’s recommendation for the KDADS budget for FY 2022, with several adjustments, including the Budget Committee’s support for proposals submitted to the SPARK Advisory Committee, including:
- Midland Care’s $2.5 million PACE expansion proposal.
- The proposal for $4.5 million for the recruitment and retention of licensed practical nurses and registered nurses.
- Association of Community Mental Health Centers of Kansas’ (ACMHCKS) $4.8 million certified community behavioral health centers implementation mini-grants proposal.
- ACMHCKS’ capacity building initiatives proposals of approximately $342,870.
The Committee also adopted the Budget Committee’s recommendation to concur with the Governor’s recommendation for the KDADS budget for FY 2023, with several adjustments, including:
- Adding $68.4 million, including $27.4 million SGF, to provide a 14 percent reimbursement rate increase for providers of Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Intellectual and Developmental Disability (I/DD) waiver services.
- Adding $65.2 million, including $26.2 million SGF, to provide for a full rebase of the nursing facility daily Medicaid rate.
- Adding $12.5 million, including $5 million SGF, to provide a 4 percent reimbursement rate increase for providers of Medicaid behavioral health services.
- Adding $11.8 million, including $4.7 million SGF, to provide a 10 percent reimbursement rate increase for providers of HCBS Frail Elderly waiver services.
- Adding $7.7 million, including $3.1 million SGF, and language to increase reimbursement for the T1000 Medicaid code for specialized nursing care from $43 per hour to $47 per hour.
- Adding $2.5 million, including $1.5 million SGF, to increase the amount provided to community developmental disability organizations to fulfill their role in assessing individuals for the HCBS I/DD waiver.
- Adding $500,000, all SGF, for FosterAdopt Connect to offer Behavioral Interventionist services for children with behavioral and emotional issues.
- Adding language to direct KDADS to enter into agreements with community mental health centers to establish rates for conducting mobile competency evaluations.
- Adding language to KDADS to establish guidelines for a nursing facility to request a waiver for staffing requirements compatible with Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) rules and investigate similar guidelines for adult care homes.
One additional adjustment recommended by the Budget Committee to delete $15 million SGF to remove the Governor’s recommendation for 50 additional regional hospital beds for inpatient mental health for FY 2023 was removed from the list and a motion to address that issue at Omnibus was passed by the Committee.
House Energy, Utilities and Telecommunications Committee
(Rep. Blaine Finch, Chair)
On Thursday, March 10, the Committee held a hearing on Substitute for HB 2281, which 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. Proponents included Nick Wood, Interhab; Amy Campbell, Kansas Mental Health Coalition; Michelle Ponce, Association of Community Mental Health Centers of Kansas; Monica Kurz, Kansas Suicide Prevention HQ; and Patrick Fucik, T-Mobile. Wood stated he would like to work with the Committee to amend the bill to include some language regarding mobile crisis response services for persons with intellectual or developmental disabilities (I/DD), which was present in an earlier version of the bill, and noted that staff and clinicians are often not able to assess the needs of persons with I/DD. Neutral written testimony was submitted by Andrew Brown, KDADS; Michele Abbott, Kansas 911 Coordinating Council; and Roxanne Grundy, Kansas National Emergency Number Association.