A look back at the first annual Advocacy Day
Last week, KMS and more than a dozen specialty societies hosted our first annual Advocacy Day. About 60 physicians, PAs, and medical students attended along with staff and guests from partner organizations — including from the event’s four generous sponsors: KAMMCO, HealthyBlue, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas, and UnitedHealthcare.
The event began with individual specialty society meetings and then by hearing from several members of legislative leadership as well as from Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Derek Schmidt (Governor Laura Kelly was invited to address the group also, but could not attend due to a schedule conflict). The group then moved into a discussion of how physicians can be the most effective advocates for the safe practice of medicine in our state. Among the main takeaways:
- It is important to establish relationships with your own representative and senator well before you may want to reach out to them about a specific policy issue under consideration in the legislature. Invite them to lunch or a coffee, perhaps with no agenda other than to get to know them and give them a chance to get to know you.
- Should you express your policy concerns to a legislator, it is critical to do so in a civil manner that does not make assumptions about the legislator’s existing views on a policy.
- KMS issues a call-to-action to members sparingly, and only on issues of significant importance. So, when we do issue a call-to-action, it is our hope that you will respond quickly, while keeping in mind the above guidance.
Advocacy Day events then transitioned to the Statehouse, where attendees met with their legislators and heard from both the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives on current issues and challenges facing the legislature. We know it was meaningful for legislators to see and hear from physicians in person to reinforce their support for policy decisions that protect the safe practice of medicine in Kansas. KMS plans to conduct another Advocacy Day next year, so please watch the newsletter for details.
The 2022 legislative session is approaching its Feb. 11 deadline when bills must be introduced by committees in their originating chamber. That means bill introduction activity is likely to pick up in the next two weeks. Also, bills introduced last year that are still alive may yet be considered this session.
For information on the bills that we are monitoring this session, please see our bill tracker at: www.kmsonline.org/billtracker. We will update you in subsequent newsletters on relevant activity on these and other bills that are introduced.
New law regarding hospital staffing; provider liability related to COVID
Last week, the governor signed into law HB 2477, which reinstates provisions enacted over the past two years (and extended by Gov. Kelly’s Executive Order 22-01). The legislation is intended to help hospitals and other health care facilities deal with COVID-related staffing shortages by relaxing some supervision requirements and making it easier for out-of-state providers to obtain temporary licensure permits. Under the new law those temporary health care professionals must notify the State Board of Healing Arts (or other applicable regulatory body), on a form created by the Board, that they are practicing in Kansas within seven calendar days of initiating practice in Kansas. The Board recommends health care professionals who want to practice in Kansas in response to the COVID-19 pandemic apply for an emergency temporary license here: http://ksbha.org/covid.shtml. This application is free and as of now are being processed within 3 business days of a complete application.
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