From KMS Executive Director Rachelle Colombo:
Yesterday the Legislature began the second half of its 2022 session. That means most bills that have not already been passed by their originating chamber are unlikely to receive further consideration this year.
Among the bills that are still very much alive this session is HB 2279, which would amend the advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) authorized scope of practice statute to permit the prescribing of drugs without a collaborative practice agreement (CPA) with a physician; it would also require such nurses to carry an unspecified level of liability insurance.
It is important to understand that this proposed legislation would not be advancing through the legislature without the political muscle provided by the Kansas Chamber, the state’s largest business organization. The business lobby has made the APRN bill one of its highest legislative priorities. The Chamber testified that their bill "would allow for the independent practice of medicine by APRNs," which they contend would improve access to care while reducing health care costs. The Chamber has also suggested that there is no difference between physicians and nurse practitioners. While many legislators have expressed concern about the Chamber’s APRN bill, the political pressure being applied by the business group and its affiliates in an election year is considerable.
This bill will be taken up by the full Senate any day now, perhaps even later this week. If so, we will continue to vigorously oppose allowing non-physicians to practice medicine and surgery.
Another bill still alive for consideration this session is Senate Substitute for HB 2280, often referred to as the “ivermectin bill,” which would explicitly authorize physicians to prescribe ivermectin and other drugs for off-label use to prevent or treat COVID-19, among other things as we detailed in a previous update.
To be clear: federal and state law allow, and KMS supports, the ability of physicians to safely prescribe FDA-approved medications off label — including medications used to treat COVID-19 — as long as doing so meets the applicable standard of care, proper informed consent has been obtained, and physicians do not engage in unprofessional conduct that is likely to deceive or harm patients.
There has been no scheduled action on this bill as yet; however, we will continue to educate lawmakers on the importance of protecting Kansas patients with appropriate regulation of the practice of medicine.
If you would like to contact your legislators regarding these or other issues of concern, you can find their contact information here. Communication should be respectful and concise. Regarding the APRN proposal, HB 2279:
- Without clear statutory limitations on scope of practice and without oversight by the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts (KSBHA), this bill would permit the unsupervised practice of medicine by non-physicians.
- 94% of Kansans responding to a recent statewide poll on health care issues said it was important to have a physician leading their health care team when it comes to diagnosing or treating them or their family member.
- Ask your senator and representative to please vote against this legislation.
We will send you an email alert, should the APRN bill be moved to the Senate floor for a vote.
Thank you to the many, many of you who have reached out to your legislators — and to us at KMS. Your longstanding, respectful advocacy for the practice of medicine is why KMS is a trusted voice in the Statehouse.
• • •