Policy & Research


Health at the Capitol Week 6: February 22, 2019

By Linda J. Sheppard, J.D., Hina B. Shah, M.P.H., Sydney McClendon, Peter F. H. Barstad | February 22, 2019

Health at the Capitol Week 6: February 22, 2019

Throughout the 2019 Kansas legislative session, Kansas Health Institute (KHI) staff will prepare a weekly summary of the highlights, with a specific focus on health policy related issues. Sign up here to receive these summaries and more, and also follow KHI on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn. Previous editions of Health at the Capitol can be found on our archive page.

Week 6 of the 2019 Session

On February 19, Gov. Kelly submitted the paperwork for Senate confirmation of Mark Burghart as Revenue secretary, David Toland as Commerce secretary, Julie Lorenz as Transportation secretary, and Lee Norman as Health and Environment secretary.

On February 20, the Senate passed SB 32, a bill to allow the Kansas Farm Bureau to offer a health benefit plan that is not an insurance product subject to the jurisdiction of the Kansas Insurance Department (KID). The bill will be considered by the House Insurance Committee next week.

On February 22, the House unanimously passed the $115 million KPERS repayment bill, which now goes to the governor.

House Health and Human Services Committee
(Rep. Brenda Landwehr, C​hair)

On February 18, the committee held a hearing on HB 2295, which would allow licensure of certified anesthesiologist assistants (CAA). Proponents said the bill would allow CAAs from Kansas to practice in Kansas, fill provider shortages and increase use of a care team model, while opponents argued it would increase staffing issues, drive certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNA) out of practice and decrease training sites for CRNAs. Committee members asked about similar legislation in other states, differences in provider training requirements, current availability of training sites, and rural access.

On February 20, the committee held two bill hearings and received a presentation from the Midwest Stem Cell Therapy Center. The first hearing was for HB 2744, which would require physicians to notify patients that a medication abortion may be reversible. Proponents said that abortion reversal is clinically proven and that the bill would ensure patients receive full information, while opponents argued the evidence on abortion reversals is poor and the bill would require physicians to provide misinformation. Committee members asked about the effectiveness of abortion reversals, current prescribing practices and lawsuits against similar legislation in other states.

Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee
(Sen. Gene Suellentrop, Chair)

On February 18, the committee heard an informational presentation from Frank Clepper, CEO of Amerigroup, which served as a KanCare managed care organization (MCO) from 2013 through 2018. Clepper offered recommendations for ways that MCOs can offer better care and responded to questions about how the Legislature can help the Kansas MCOs be more effective.

On February 19, the committee heard an informational presentation from Suni Abhyankar, director of the Midwest Stem Cell Therapy Center at KU, who provided an overview of the stem cell research being conducted at the center. The committee then held a hearing on SB 144, regarding expediated partner therapy to treat sexually transmitted infections, and heard from proponents Kimberly Swan, M.D., an obstetrician and gynecologist; Jennifer VandeVelde, director of the Bureau of Disease Control and Prevention at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE); and Aaron Dunkel, executive director of the Kansas Pharmacists Association. Written-only testimony was submitted by the Kansas Association of Osteopathic Medicine (KAOM), Planned Parenthood, the Kansas Medical Society and others.

On February 20, the committee held a hearing on SB 122, which would require KDHE to contract with a single managed care organization (MCO) to provide Medicaid services to children in foster care, and would require the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) to provide an online delivery system for academic instruction to children in grades nine through 12 who are placed away from their parents or guardians when DCF has placement and care responsibility or who are subsequently adopted.

On February 21, the committee held a hearing on SB 162, which would require that an email be sent to the governor and all legislators whenever a child in foster care goes missing.

On February 22, the committee worked SB 61, which amends podiatrist qualifications and scope of practice, and passed the bill out favorably with an amendment to remove provisions regarding the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts.

House Children and Seniors Committee
(Rep. Susan Concannon, Chair)

On February 18, the committee took final action on HB 2103, which amends the revised Kansas code for child in need of care (CINC) to provide requirements for placement of a child in a qualified residential treatment program (QRTP) as part of the Families First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA). Committee members discussed the amount of funds proposed, the federal match, and outcome measures for evaluation. Committee members opposed to the bill stated a lack of confidence in how it will help families. Supporters of the bill discussed the shift of Title IV-E funds from removal of a child to prevention. Several committee members brought up that both the Child Welfare System Task Force and Judicial Council recommended the state pursue FFPSA funds and noted that this bill must pass to become eligible for FFPSA. The bill passed out of committee.

On February 19, the committee held a hearing on HB 2228, which would amend K.S.A. 65-526 to assess penalties for operating a child care facility without a license. Proponents spoke to the need of ensuring child health, safety and well-being. Committee members asked questions about state versus local authority, inconsequential care (defined in policies and procedures as less than 21 hours per week of care; not in statute), and the excessiveness of the fine amount (up to $1,000 per day) to Kansas families. There were no opponent or neutral conferees.

On February 21, the committee held a hearing on HB 2343, which would remove provisional employment from adult care homes, home health agencies and providers of disability services. This is a cleanup bill after the passage of the 2018 bill that allowed federal funds to be used for national background checks and tightened guidelines for provisional hiring to cap it at 60 days. Proponents discussed the harm to older adults from uncleared workers and the short time-frame to complete background checks ‒ about four to five days. Opponents discussed the need for provisional employees as a safety net for the workforce, changes to background checks now using fingerprinting technology and delays in implementation, and workforce turnover. There were no neutral conferees.

House Social Services Budget Committee
(Rep. Will Carpenter, Chair)

On February 18, the committee held public hearings on the Department for Children and Families (DCF) budget. Christi Nance, policy director of Oral Health Kansas, proposed allowing Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds to be used to purchase toothbrushes and toothpaste; Scott Anglemyer, executive director of the Kansas Association of Community Action Programs (KACAP), discussed using TANF funds for poverty reduction; and Interim DCF Secretary Laura Howard responded to questions about supplemental requests in the budget for early implementation of the Families First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA).

On February 19, the committee heard an overview presentation about TANF programs, deliberated the budget for DCF, and adopted the governor’s budget recommendations for all years.

On February 21, the committee held a hearing on the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) budget. Following an overview presentation about the budget, Interim KDADs Secretary Laura Howard spoke about the various commissions that make up the agency and responded to committee member questions.

House Insurance Committee
(Rep. Jene Vickrey, Chair)

On February 20, the Senate passed SB 32 on a vote of 28-11 to allow the Kansas Farm Bureau to offer a health benefit plan that will not be an insurance product subject to the jurisdiction of the Kansas Insurance Department (KID), which means it would not be required to provide coverage for pre-existing conditions. During debate on the bill there were references to coverage being available for individuals with pre-existing conditions through the Kansas high risk pool. However, see the note below in the Senate Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee about a bill to sunset the high risk pool statute this week. SB 32 will be considered by the House Insurance Committee next week.

Senate Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee
(Sen. Rob Olson, Chair)

On February 19, the committee held a brief hearing on SB 109, a bill introduced at the request of the Kansas Insurance Department (KID), which would repeal the Kansas uninsurable health insurance plan act, also known as the state’s high-risk pool. Lee Modesitt of KID testified that individuals were no longer eligible for the insurance coverage offered through the pool because of the guaranteed issue requirement for the individual market under the federal Affordable Care Act and explained that the statutes were left in place for a five-year period beginning January 1, 2014, due to a requirement that policies issued through the pool include a provision that stated no legal action could be brought after the expiration of five years. The pool was officially closed on December 28, 2018. No neutral or opponent testimony was provided, and the committee recommended on February 20 that the bill be placed on the Consent Calendar.

The Kansas Health Institute supports effective policymaking through nonpartisan research, education and engagement. KHI believes evidence-based information, objective analysis and civil dialogue enable policy leaders to be champions for a healthier Kansas. Established in 1995 with a multiyear grant from the Kansas Health Foundation, KHI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization based in Topeka.