From KMS Executive Director Rachelle Colombo:
Lawmakers returned to the Statehouse last week for their wrap-up session. They then adjourned early Friday morning until May 23, at which time they will come back to complete work on a congressional district map.
Since our last update, the governor signed into law the APRN bill, Senate Substitute for House Bill 2279. The bill is a significantly pared-down version of earlier bills introduced over the past several years by nursing groups. The only change the bill makes to the APRN scope of practice is that it permits APRNs to prescribe drugs without a collaborative practice agreement with a physician. However, APRNs are still able to enter into such practice agreements if they choose to do so, for example, if the clinic, hospital or other medical care facility in which they work requires it. The only other change affecting APRN practice is a new requirement that APRNs must purchase malpractice insurance, although they were not made a part of the Health Care Stabilization Fund, and it is unclear how the Board of Nursing will interpret and enforce this requirement.
Just before adjourning, lawmakers passed a bill (Substitute for Senate Bill 34) barring state and local governments from ordering mask mandates in response to an infectious disease. The Senate passed the bill on a 23-17 vote; the House passed the bill on a 64-53 vote. Both were well short of the votes needed to override a potential veto by the governor.
Also approved this week was a bill blocking the administration from seeking new proposals for the state’s Medicaid program until after this fall’s gubernatorial election. The bill effectively locks in place the state’s current contracts with three managed care companies that manage its Medicaid program.
Finally, this week the Legislature opted to not override the governor's veto of a bill (Senate Bill 286) that would have extended civil liability protections for health care providers and businesses stemming from COVID-19. Gov. Kelly’s veto message said the bill “indiscriminately broadened protections for health care providers, substantially reducing protections for Kansas patients.” The bill would have excluded medical facilities and their providers from immunity if they refused to provide treatment to someone because they’re not vaccinated against COVID-19. The bill also would have increased penalties for violence against health care workers and extended regulatory flexibilities for telemedicine and other health care provisions related to COVID-19.
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