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February 27, 2017

Medicaid expansion moves forward

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The end of last week marked the first major legislative deadline. Unless a bill has been exempted from legislative deadlines–as most budget and spending bills are–it has to have made it through its house of origin to remain alive at this point in the session.

The activity leading up to these deadlines is often dizzying as individuals work to utilize the legislative rules to advance or kill contentious issues. Perhaps there is no better example of the impact of legislative deadlines and procedural rules on the advancement of political issues than that of Medicaid expansion, House Bill 2064. This bill was scheduled for debate and action in the House Health and Human Services Committee on the last day committees could consider non-exempt bills. The committee discussion was evenly split between those who supported the measure and believe it deserved debate by the entire House of Representatives, and those who felt the unknowns surrounding the federal government's intent to support expansion states and the potential for increased Medicaid costs outweighed the potential benefits, and that action should be delayed to see how Congress addresses the issue when it begins the process of repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act.

After lengthy discussion, rather than voting to outright advance or kill the bill in committee, a motion was made to table the bill until a later date–a procedural maneuver effectively killing the bill. The procedural motion tabling the bill passed by a razor-thin margin of 9 to 8. Following the committee's action, proponents of the bill continued to argue that an issue of this magnitude deserved a vote on the substance of the bill, rather than to have it killed by a procedural maneuver. Ultimately, leaders of the House agreed to provide supporters an opportunity to try to amend the Medicaid expansion bill onto another bill being debated by the House chamber.

It was the first time in four years that the full House of Representatives has had the opportunity to debate the Medicaid expansion issue. After four hours of debate, the amendment passed and the bill was forwarded to the Senate with a strong vote of 81-44. So, although the actual bill (HB 2064) was killed in committee, the Medicaid expansion issue has now passed the House and is very much alive for further consideration and possible advancement by the Senate.

This type of action can make it difficult to follow legislative issues, but our bill tracker and this electronic newsletter will continue to update you on legislative action affecting the practice of medicine in Kansas.

For more information about legislative matters, please contact KMS Director of Government Affairs, Rachelle Colombo.

 

Turn-around impacts health-related bills

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The first major deadline of the 2017 legislative session has passed. "Turn-around" is the date by which most bills must be passed by their chamber of origin; tax and spending bills are exempted from the rule. Many health-related issues have been considered this year but if they are not listed below, they are unlikely to advance unless they are amended into other, related bills.

The following bills remain active:

  • House Bill 2027 related to billing for anatomic pathology (awaits action in the Senate)
  • House Bill 2030 allowing pharmacists to administer vaccinations to children aged 12 and up (awaits action in the Senate)
  • House Bill 2045 related to institutional licenses (awaits action in the Senate)
  • House Bill 2121 requiring physicians to participate in WebIZ (awaits action in the Senate)
  • House Bill 2180 increasing the MCO privilege fee (awaits action in House Appropriations Committee; has been exempted
  • House Bill 2205 requiring meningitis vaccinations (awaits action in the Senate)
  • House Bill 2217 allowing first responders and others to procure a supply of opioid antagonists (awaits action in the Senate)
  • Senate Bill 32 expands the medical student loan program and the bridging program to include additional slots and funding for psychiatry (awaits action in the House)
  • Senate Bill 69 related to KanCare compliance (awaits action by the full Senate; has been exempted)
  • Senate Bill 94 increases MCO privilege fee to restore Medicaid provider reimbursement cuts (awaits action by the full Senate; has been exempted)

For additional information, contact KMS Director of Government Affairs, Rachelle Colombo.

 

Preparing for MACRA: helpful resources

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The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) will combine current CMS programs and change how physicians are reimbursed. MACRA will measure physician performance across a broad set of standards, assessing quality, cost, clinical practice improvements and advancing care information. The law has many facets and KMS, along with our partners, want to help physicians prepare effectively.

Join our upcoming webinar to learn more about the legislation, how it will change Medicare reimbursement and the resources available to physicians in Kansas to help with a successful transition.

  • Tuesday, March 21
  • Noon–1:15 p.m. 

During the webinar, Patricia Meier, MD, CMS Chief Medical Officer will present an overview of MACRA and other partners will discuss resources available to physicians as they work toward the transition.

The event is free; registration is required.

 

Several mumps outbreaks active in Kansas

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The Kansas Department of Health & Environment has identified a number of active mumps outbreaks within our state and noted several in surrounding states.

As a reminder, Kansas reporting regulations require providers to report all persons with suspected mumps to KDHE's epidemiology hotline (877.427.7317) within four hours, prior to receipt of laboratory results. Additional information regarding testing guidelines and reporting requirements is available on KDHE's website.

 

New issue available: Kansas Journal of Medicine

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The Kansas Journal of Medicine–published by the KU School of Medicine–distributes original research, reviews, commentaries and case studies on all aspects of clinical medicine, health care delivery, health policy and medical education.

 

KMS & KaMPAC dues

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Important reminder

Dues statements have been mailed & payments were due by January 1.

 

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