Legislature adjourns for spring break
Rachelle Colombo; KMS Director of Government Affairs
In what is likely to be a new record, the Legislature completed the main part of its work and reached first adjournment on Thursday, after just 67 days. Legislators will return on April 27 for the traditional "wrap-up session," in which conference committees will reconcile differences between House and Senate positions on numerous bills, as well as making any final adjustments to the state budget. However, by addressing the budget deficit for the current fiscal year as well as passing a plan to respond to the Kansas Supreme Court's ruling on the school finance issue, the legislature took a big step toward fulfilling its basic constitutional duties. Though a myriad of issues remain unresolved, all action now halts until the end of April when legislators reconvene.
The following issues are currently "alive" for consideration in the Health Conference committee and may be addressed in late April:
- HB 2615: Charitable Care for continuing education credits-KMS is neutral.
- HB 2456: Interstate Medical Licensure Compact-KMS supports.
- HB 2369: Prohibiting minors from tanning-KMS supports.
- HB 2578: Concussion; allowing Chiropractors to make the call on return to play-KMS opposed.
- SB 341: Step therapy for Medicaid Recipients-KMS opposed.
- SB 363: Acupuncture Practice Act-KMS is neutral.
- House Substitute for SB 402: Independent Practice of Midwifery Practice Act-KMS supports.
The last bill mentioned, House Substitute for SB 402, was introduced and carried through the legislative process in its final two weeks. The bill was introduced by the Chairman of the House Health committee, Rep. Dan Hawkins (R-Wichita). It was heard and passed out of committee last week, and then passed the House on a vote of 87-38.
Under this bill, nurse midwives licensed by both the Boards of Nursing and the Board of Healing Arts would not be required to maintain a collaborative practice agreement with a physician to provide clinical services limited to normal, uncomplicated pregnancy and delivery. A seven member advisory council comprised of nurse midwives and physicians would assist the Board of Healing Arts in developing regulations regarding the prescribing of drugs, the ordering of tests and diagnostic services, and other services necessary to allow nurse midwives to provide obstetrical services without the necessity of the collaborative practice agreement. Those nurse midwives desiring to continue to work in a collaborative practice arrangement with physicians would continue to be licensed by the Board of Nursing only, and their scope of practice would remain unaffected.
Both APRNs and CNMs opposed the bill, preferring instead their proposals for unlimited scope of practice and regulation only by the Board of Nursing. While KMS supports collaborative practice, particularly because some CNM functions overlap the practice of medicine, KMS felt strongly that if collaborative practice agreements were dissolved, the CNM scope of practice should be limited and regulated by the same board that oversees the practice of medicine. Though H Sub for SB 402 is not ideal, the top priorities of both physicians and nurse midwives were included in the bill, and it achieves a balanced compromise that adequately regulates the practice of midwifery. As such, the Kansas Medical Society supported the bill.
The swift passage of the bill through the House firmly established legislative support for ensuring standard of care and clear scope of practice limitations for this group of advanced practice nurses. When the Legislature reconvenes for the wrap-up Session on April 27, our advocacy will continue and we will keep you apprised of those issues affecting the practice of medicine and ensuring that it is kept in physicians' hands.
For questions about any legislative matters, please contact KMS Director of Government Affairs, Rachelle Colombo.