Legislature Passes Budget, Tax Relief; Regular Session Adjourns

Since the wrap-up of committee work two weeks ago, the legislature has resolved most of its top priorities. House and Senate negotiators passed a budget that includes an across the board increase of 9% in the Medicaid physician fee schedule. This increase is on top of the 3% increase approved by the legislature last year. KMS has urged lawmakers to start on a path of comprehensively revising the fee schedule, which until the past two years had not been updated for well over a decade. The legislature’s support for the increases has been encouraging but must continue in future years to maintain an adequate network of Medicaid providers.

After several rounds of negotiations, the House and Senate finally came to an agreement on a tax plan just before adjourning around 3 am on Saturday, April 6. Though the plan has strong bi-partisan support, there have been some indications that the Governor may veto the bill in favor of other provisions not included in this version of the bill. The legislature will return on April 25 to take up any vetoes or remaining legislative initiatives.

One such item is medical marijuana. SB 555 was introduced late in the session and had a hearing where the measure was tabled for the remainder of the calendar year. But a motion was made to bring a previous proposal that carried over from last year to the full Senate for debate when they return in a few weeks.

House and Senate health negotiators bundled four remaining bills into SB 287 and agreed to a conference committee report that was adopted by the House but will have to be taken up by the Senate at the end of the month.

SB 287 now contains the contents of four separate bills:

  • HB 2793 requires parental consent to health care services for a minor child provided in a school facility.
  • HB 2548 establishes the No Patient Left Alone Act.
  • HB  2637 expands the eligibility of facilities regarding the licensure of rural emergency hospitals.
  • HB 2579 amends the law concerning emergency medical services (EMS) to add provisions allowing distribution of non-prescription, over-the-counter (OTC) medications, as approved by the EMS medical director, to the list of interventions that emergency medical responders may provide.

KMS supported each of these measures as amended by the committees and the conference committee negotiators.

The legislature did not take further action on Medicaid Expansion, and though there were some attempts to amend the measure onto other bills in committee and on the floor of the House and Senate, none were successful.

The length and tenor of the wrap-up session at the end of the month will be most impacted by the Governor’s response to the tax package and whether both bodies can override a potential veto. If not, leaders are unlikely to send legislators home for election season without tax relief for voters. Similarly, the Governor has pledged to call the legislature to a special session if necessary to secure a tax package. The advancement of other pending issues will no doubt be shaped by how the tax issue resolves and the willingness of legislators to remain in Topeka rather than begin campaigning for the elections later this year.

Though the session was mostly dominated by ideological issues, particularly in the health committees, very few emerged as viable bills passing both chambers. SB 390 and SB 391, which limited the role of the Secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and limited the authority of local public health officials, did not advance in the House of Representatives. Additionally, though several problematic scope of practice bills were introduced, none advanced. SB 112 allowing CRNA independent practice, SB 490 expanding optometric scope of practice, and SB 496 authorizing prescribing by naturopathic doctors all stalled. The so-called Laser Hair Removal Act, SB 461, which established a different standard of care for in-person and telemedicine supervision also failed to advance. KMS opposed all these measures.

KMS will be at the statehouse when the legislature returns and will continue to advocate for your policies that protect your patients and your practice.

If you have questions about legislative matters, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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