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Health at The Capitol Week 7 (March 2020)

Week 7 of the 2020 Legislative Session

By Linda J. Sheppard, J.D., Hina B. Shah, M.P.H., Sydney McClendon, Peter F. H. Barstad | March 04, 2020

Health at The Capitol Week 7 (March 2020)

Week 7 of the 2020 Session

Only a few committees met on Monday, February 24, to pass out a small number of bills before Turnaround Day on February 27. Legislators then turned to taking action on a lot of other bills before the Thursday deadline, with some being passed by their originating chamber, some moved to an exempt committee to keep them alive for the second half of the session, and others removed from chamber calendars, which may result in them being dead for this year. 

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

Did not meet this week.

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

On Monday, February 24, the Committee held a hearing on Senate Bill (SB) 364, to be known as the Kansas Newborn Screening Act, which would amend existing law to increase funding under the medical assistance fee fund from $2.5 million to $5 million. Proponents noted the state's current requirement for 32 of the recommended 35 screenings and the importance of these screenings to provide appropriate care to Kansas newborns through recent advances in medicine, genetics and technology. There was no neutral or opponent testimony. Committee members asked questions about funding and changes for hospitals.

House Insurance Committee
(Rep. Jene Vickrey, Chair)

On Monday, February 24, the Committee received a report from the subcommittee that met on February 19 to hear additional comments from conferees on House Bill (HB) 2459, to be known as the Kristi L. Bennett mental health parity act, which would limit utilization review conducted by insurers under certain circumstances involving the treatment of mental illness and substance abuse, especially for individuals who are actively suicidal. The subcommittee reported that it had concluded that more time and discussion should be devoted to the topic of mental health parity and that a task force of legislators and various stakeholders should be assembled to study it. The Committee then worked HB 2598, which provides for enhanced regulation of pharmacy benefits managers. A balloon amendment offered by Chair Vickrey, which became Substitute for HB 2598, was approved and was favorably passed out of committee. However, the substitute bill was ultimately stricken from the House Calendar on February 27, which may result in the bill being dead for this session.   

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

No health-related issues were addressed this week.

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

On Monday, February 24, the Committee held its final hearing on the budgets for the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) and Department for Children and Families (DCF) and made several recommendations. The Committee then approved a motion that if Executive Reorganization Order (ERO) 44 – which would put DCF and KDADS into a new Kansas Department of Human Services (DHS) and also transfer juvenile services programs and juvenile facilities and institutions, except the Larned facility, from the Department of Corrections to the new DHS – is disapproved that expenditures be shifted back to where those funds originated prior to the ERO. 

Robert G. (Bob) Bethell Joint Committee on Home and Community Based Services and KanCare Oversight
(Rep. Brenda Landwehr, Chair)

On Friday, February 28, the Joint Committee held its quarterly meeting and members heard from providers, advocacy organizations, state agency staff, managed care organization (MCO) representatives, and individuals who have interacted with the KanCare system. Conferees testified on issues related to providing care, services, program management and employment opportunities to individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities (I/DD), and noted the current waitlist and requests to increase the protected income limit (PIL). Committee members asked about criminal justice issues related to individuals with I/DD and SB 333, which would create and amend law relating to a defendant’s competency or incompetency to stand trial; state models for providing Home and Community Based Services (HCBS); admissions to state institutions; nursing home inspections; the Senior Care Act; sales tax exemptions for PACE providers; the credentialing process for providers with KanCare MCOs; what data will be collected from the grants awarded through the Families First Prevention Act; discrepancies in wages for similar positions at correctional facilities and state hospitals; the rate of antipsychotic drug use in nursing homes; the long-term plan for meeting access needs at state hospitals; whether long-term care insurance policies are adequately promoted: and when UnitedHealthcare will launch its new housing pilot program for KanCare members. Finally, State Medicaid Director Adam Proffitt reported that Aetna Better Health has continued to make progress under its corrective action plan (CAP), and he anticipates lifting the CAP by the end of June 2020. However, he noted that monitoring and oversight will not cease when the CAP is removed. 

Senate Ways and Means Committee
(Sen. Carolyn McGinn, Chair)

On Monday, February 24, the Committee held a hearing on SB 409, which would amend existing law to remove the July 1, 2020, sunset provision for the Nursing Facility Quality Care Assessment. Proponents stated that removing the sunset provision would allow the Assessment to continue providing funding for nursing facility reimbursement rates.  

On Tuesday, February 25, the Committee took final action on SB 255, which would appropriate $10 million for fiscal year 2021 to the cancer center research account of the University of Kansas Medical Center (KUMC), to enhance research and retain cancer researchers. The bill, which originally created a new “cancer research and public information trust fund,” was amended to eliminate that provision and add language requiring that the first $5 million in expenditures from the KUMC cancer research account be matched by KUMC on a $1 for $1 basis from other KUMC funds, and was then favorably passed out of committee. The Committee then discussed SB 225, which would amend existing law related to the hospital provider assessment, known as the Healthcare Access Improvement Program (HCAIP), to increase the annual assessment rate from 1.83 percent to 3.0 percent, expand taxable revenue to include outpatient net operating revenue, and also modify the selection criteria of the Healthcare Access Improvement Panel, which administers the program. Sen. Jim Denning provided some clarifying comments about the bill and then stated that because the bill might be amendable to add Medicaid expansion it would not be brought above the line unless there was certainty that would not occur. Sen. Anthony Hensley stated that the minority party caucus had agreed that no effort would be made to amend it to include Medicaid expansion if the bill were worked on the Senate floor. Finally, the Committee amended SB 409 to add a ten-year sunset but did not take final action on the bill.

On Wednesday, February 26, the Committee favorably passed out SB 409, as amended and then resumed discussion on SB 225, and amended that bill to require all disbursements related to the HCAIP be paid from moneys appropriated to the Healthcare Access Improvement Fund, prohibit the use of State General Funds to supplement the Fund and require the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) to adjust the disbursement process to ensure that the amount of disbursements do not exceed the funds appropriated to the Fund. The bill was then passed out favorably, as amended. 


Other bills with action this week:

SB 252 – On Tuesday, February 25, Rep. Jim Ward made a motion on the House floor to amend HB 2480, related to the definition of long-term care insurance, to insert the contents of SB 252, related to Medicaid expansion and the implementation of a reinsurance program. The Rules Chair ruled the amendment not germane, so the motion failed.

SB 381 – The amended bill would add obstetrics and gynecology (OBGYN) to the list of qualifying residency training programs under both the Medical Student Loan Program and the Kansas Medical Residency Bridging Loan Program, authorize KUMC to offer loan assistance and enter into service commitment agreements with students who seek to pursue a medical career in the practice of obstetrics and gynecology, and establish criteria for determining when an individual would be deemed to have failed to complete the service requirement of either loan assistance program. The bill was passed by the Senate on a vote of 25-15 on February 26.

HB 2053 – The amended bill would amend existing insurance law to update the permissible term of short-term, limited duration insurance policies to a period of less than 12 months, allow renewal or extension of such policies for periods up to a maximum of 36 months in duration, and require insurance companies issuing these policies to disclose specified information in their contracts and application materials notifying consumers that the coverage is not required to comply with federal requirements for health insurance contained in the Affordable Care Act. The Insurance Committee recommended the bill be passed on February 21, but it was stricken from the House Calendar on February 27.

HB 2295 – The bill, which would enact the anesthesiologist assistant licensure act, received a hearing in the Health and Human Services Committee (HHS) during the 2019 session and was then referred to the Appropriations Committee (an exempt committee). The bill was referred back to HHS on February 26 and may be dead for this year. 

HB 2450 – The bill, which would amend the Kansas clean indoor air act to add “use of an electronic cigarette” to the definition of smoking and define “electronic cigarette” as “a battery-powered device that can provide inhaled doses of nicotine by means of cartridges or other chemical delivery systems,” received a hearing in January and was amended by the Judiciary Committee and passed favorably out of committee on February 13. On February 27, the bill was stricken from the House Calendar. 

HB 2549 – The bill would require the Secretary of KDHE to adopt rules and regulations to set the monthly protected income level (PIL) to 150.0 percent of the Federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) threshold for any person receiving Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) under KanCare, including those receiving services through the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE). The Social Services Budget Committee recommended the bill be passed out favorably on February 24, but it was stricken from the House Calendar on February 27. 

HB 2550 – The amended bill would direct the Secretary of KDADS to provide increases in the reimbursement rates for providers of services under the Medicaid Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) waiver for individuals with an intellectual or developmental disability, direct the Robert G. (Bob) Bethell Joint Committee on Home and Community Based Services and KanCare Oversight to review the number of individuals on the waiting list for the Medicaid HCBS I/DD waiver at its quarterly meetings during FY 2021, and require findings and recommendations to be included in written reports to the 2021 and 2022 Legislature. The Social Services Budget Committee recommended the bill be passed on February 24, but it was stricken from the House Calendar on February 27.

HB 2570 – The bill, which would limit certain prescriptions for opioids to a seven-day supply, has not yet received a hearing, but was referred to Appropriations on February 26, keeping the bill alive for this session.

Substitute for HB 2598 – The substitute bill would enact law and amend requirements related to the registration of pharmacy benefits managers (PBMs) with the Commissioner of Insurance to instead require licensure under the Pharmacy Benefits Manager Licensure Act and establish new licensure, administration and enforcement, reporting, and business practice requirements on PBMs. The original bill received a hearing in the Insurance Committee on February 17, was amended by the substitute bill and passed out favorably on February 25, but was then stricken from the House Calendar on February 27. 

HB 2677 – The bill, which would establish primary health centers as a rural healthcare provider type and enact the primary health center pilot program act contingent upon state acceptance into a demonstration program under the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, received a hearing on February 17 and was recommended to be passed by the Rural Revitalization Committee on February 21. The bill was withdrawn from the House calendar on February 26 and referred to Appropriations, keeping the bill alive for this session.

*Note: Multiple proposals to expand Medicaid have been considered this session. View our Medicaid Expansion Bill Tracker for the latest information on those bills.

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.