March 2019 President’s Message

March 2019 President’s Message

Strong response by MSSC physicians impacts legislative bills

by Michael Lievens, MD

I would like to extend my thanks to all the MSSC members who responded to Dr. Kevin Hoppock’s recent call to action and e-mailed state lawmakers about two bills before the Legislature.

MSSC and the Kansas Medical Society try to issue such calls sparingly – preferring to work behind the scenes whenever possible. But there are times when a strong response is needed. This was one of those times.

The two bills of concern were House Bill 2066, which would allow APRNs to practice outside the supervision of physicians and the Kansas Board of Healing Arts, and HB 2146, which would allow non-health care corporations to employ physicians to provide care to employees.

The APRN bill was amended on the House floor last week – lawmakers gutted the bill and replaced it with the contents of HB 2102, which would allow Medicaid expansion in Kansas. That bill was approved and sent to the Senate.

The corporate practice of medicine issue also has been in flux. A new bill, HB 2402, was introduced last week.

The status of bills can change quickly. We’ll keep you informed through MSSC’s Legislative Update emails.

Some of the other bills before the Legislature this session include HB 2082, which would allow pharmacists to administer drug injections that patients could self-administer; HB 2198, which would allow the use of expedited partner therapy to treat sexually transmitted diseases; and HB 2295, which would allow for the licensure of anesthesiology assistants. There also have been several bills related to medical marijuana.

Evaluating these bills and monitoring their status is a challenging job. We are fortunate to have a talented staff at KMS who know the ins and outs of the legislative process.

I also appreciate the many physicians who are engaged on these issues. MSSC and KMS have committees of physicians who discuss bills and debate strategies. Both committees are headed by Dr. Hoppock, who devotes a great amount of time to understanding the issues and developing relationships with lawmakers.

I’m also grateful for the many lawmakers who care about the concerns of physicians and want to make sure bills don’t harm the practice of medicine or patient care. I particularly want to recognize Rep. John Eplee, a family physician and KMS member from Atchison.

KMS and MSSC do not expect to issue another call to action this session. But if we need to, it’s great to know that so many physicians are ready to respond.