The Kansas Legislature opened for business Jan. 8, and the MSSC Legislative Committee is beginning its work for the session as well.
The committee, which monitors health-related legislative activity and advocates on behalf of patients and the practice of medicine, will hold its first meeting of the year on Jan. 19. The committee usually meets twice a month during the session, and consults with and receives updates from Rachelle Colombo, KMS director of government affairs. Members vote to set MSSC legislative policy, deciding whether to be for, against or neutral on pieces of legislation.
Predicting the issues that can arise in Topeka is no exact science, but this session is not expected to be as active as some, as state finances and the school funding order from the state Supreme Court are likely to dominate legislators’ attention.
Dr. Kevin Hoppock, chairman of the committee, thinks the opioid issue and insurance coverage for telemedicine are certain to come up this session. “You can be certain that we will get to weigh in on scope of practice issues, Kancare 2.0, Medicaid expansion, and a host of yet to be defined issues affecting our practices and our patients,” he said.
During November’s annual MSSC legislative dinner, attended by about 20 area representatives and senators, Dr. Hoppock said that, with K-TRACS, “Kansas is ahead of the curve on prescription drug abuse” but that the medical community must work to keep that system strong and funded.
Dr. Hoppock also reiterated support for increased health care access for Kansans and thanked legislators for their willingness to discuss and ultimately pass a bill to expand Medicaid. Another issue likely to be discussed is the push to create an osteopathic medical
college in Wichita, he said, adding that the shortage of residency training spots is a greater problem than a shortage of medical students.
Dr. Hoppock and the committee welcome input from fellow MSSC members on legislative matters. Other members are Dr. Steen Mortensen, vice chairman, and Drs. Kent Bradley, Joe Davison, John Gallagher, Jay Gilbaugh, Thomas Klein, John Lasak, John Lohnes, Christopher Moeller, Terry Poling, Thomas Rosenberg, Jon Schrage, Travis Stembridge, Jason Taylor, and Adrian Walling. Trish Youngman and Kim Schrage represent the MSSC Alliance on the committee.