A message from KMS Executive Director as the 2024 Legislative Session Begins

Monday, January 8th marks the start of the 90-day general legislative session. This will be the second year of the current legislative biennium, which means bills from the 2023 session carry over for consideration in addition to newly drafted bills. 2024 is also an election year for all 40 Senate seats and 125 House seats and will uniquely impact the session in two ways. If the House and Senate agree on nothing else, both bodies will be united in wanting a swift and generally controversy free session that allows them to begin fundraising and knocking on doors and securing re-election support sooner, rather than later.

In the world of campaign palm cards, mailers and social media posts legislators seeking reelection will look for issues that will differentiate themselves from potential opponents. Also, the majority party legislative leaders often avoid in election year sessions those issues and votes that may be considered controversial in certain vulnerable legislative districts. Striking the balance between pursuing policy goals and not putting colleagues in reelection harm’s way will likely be a theme of 2024.

These dynamics are complicated by the differing approaches and policy goals of the legislative and executive branches. Legislative leadership has stated its intent to focus heavily on fiscal issues, specifically appropriations for current state services and a reworking of tax policy. With a record $2.5 billion ending balance and $1.5 billion in the so-called “rainy day fund” the state’s coffers are flush, and the proposals for increased spending as well as expanded tax relief are sure to be popular with many in the legislature. House and Senate leaders have signaled a desire to pass meaningful tax relief, continue to support efforts to grow the state’s workforce, and quickly wrap up the session before the end of the Spring.

However, Governor Kelly has made passage of Medicaid Expansion one of her highest priorities, a policy goal that legislative leaders continue to express strong objections to. Over the summer and fall, the Governor visited communities throughout the state to reinvigorate Kansans in the push to join 41 other states in expanding our state’s Medicaid program. The legislature’s ability to gain her support for their legislative priorities could very well depend on their willingness to give serious consideration to passage of Medicaid Expansion. 

KMS has a long-standing position of supporting the expansion of Medicaid services, believing that all Kansans are best served by access to a physician-led team and a program that is fiscally responsible and sustainable and does not cost-shift among providers. The cost of the state’s Medicaid program should not be subsidized or borne by the healthcare provider community.   

In a recent meeting between KMS Leadership and Governor Kelly, she expressed her commitment to meaningfully addressing Medicaid reimbursement rates for physicians. Though KMS was able to secure a 3% increase in rates through the legislative process in 2023, the Medicaid fee schedule is still woefully inadequate and too infrequently adjusted. Though the vast majority of Kansas physicians have historically accepted Medicaid patients, this program which insures nearly 450 thousand low-income Kansans has simply failed its responsibility to maintain the physician fee schedule at a level that ensures there will be an adequate network of physicians to care for this population. KMS will again be urging lawmakers to meaningfully address the inadequacies in Medicaid reimbursement.  KMS is encouraged by the Governor’s stated support for the issue and her willingness to participate in KMS Advocacy Day to provide her perspective on these matters.

All of these issues and many more will be discussed at KMS Advocacy Day on Wednesday, January 24th. Invited speakers include Speaker of the House Dan Hawkins, members of the House and Senate Health Committees and Governor Kelly. If you haven’t already, please register today so you can hear firsthand how state leaders view these and other issues and you can meet your elected officials and discuss issues affecting the practice of medicine. Your involvement in the legislative process through an informed relationship with elected officials is critical to the success of our advocacy.

There is no doubt the 2024 session will be lively and include spirited discussions around the issues noted above, as well as liability laws, scope of practice, access to care, prior authorization, telemedicine and more. As always, KMS will be at the statehouse every day working on those issues impacting the practice of medicine. We will inform you of bills as they arise and move through the process and rarely, call on you to directly communicate with your elected officials if adverse policy is imminent.

It is a great honor to work on your behalf through this political process to promote the best policy for Kansas physicians and patients. Never hesitate to reach out with your questions or concerns, I am always available to you.


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Advocacy Day Events Include Speakers, Specialty Society Priorities, & Legislative Overview

Invited Guest Speakers:

Governor Laura Kelly

House Speaker Dan Hawkins

Senator Chase Blasi

Doc Caucus: Representatives John Eplee MD, Ron Bryce MD, & Bill Clifford MD

Tucker Poling, KAMMCO General Counsel

Kevin Hoppock MD, KMS Legislative Chair

Rachelle Colombo, KMS Executive Director

For More Information Click Here

Prior Authorization Webinar

Plan to join KMS and Blue Cross Blue Shield, the first week of February for an exclusive webinar that promises to demystify the world of prior authorizations and empower you with the knowledge to better understand the process. More details coming soon.

Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology Advisory Board Nomination

Nominations are being sought for the Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology Advisory Board.

The board meets at least four times each year in order to advise the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services Secretary Laura Howard on matters concerning the licensure of speech-language pathologists and audiologists. 

The board consists of five people appointed by Sec. Howard and includes two speech-language pathologists, an audiologist, a licensed physician and a member of the general public who isn’t a health care provider. Members serve two-year terms and are eligible for reappointment to a second-year term. The positions to be filled include one physician and one member of the general public. 

Nominations may be submitted to Karen Torbert at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Health Occupations Credentialing, 503 S Kansas Ave, Topeka KS 66603. Please include the nominee's vitae, his/her cover letter briefly expressing interest in serving and a brief statement of reasons for endorsement. The deadline for nominations is February 14, 2024.

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