Kurt Scott, president and CEO of KAMMCO, reviewed the status of medical malpractice liability in Kansas at the Kansas Medical Society annual meeting Sept. 6-7 at the Wichita Hyatt.
The Kansas Supreme Court ruled earlier this summer in the Hilburn case that the state cap on non-economic damages was unconstitutional. But, as Scott explained, it is unclear whether the ruling applies to medical malpractice cases. A press release from the court at the time of the ruling said it didn’t apply to medical malpractice cases. Also, one of the justices said at a forum this summer that Hilburn was an automotive case and didn’t apply to medical malpractice.
KAMMCO is taking the position that Hilburn doesn’t apply to medical malpractice, Scott said, but it is hoping to get formal clarifi cation from the court. In the meantime, KAMMCO is working with KMS and the Kansas Hospital Association to develop potential legislative strategies.
“It is complicated,” Scott said. “I don’t know if there is a clear path.”
Rachelle Colombo, director of governmental aff airs at KMS, also provided an overview of what happened in this year’s legislative session and what is likely to happen next year.
The 2019 session was particularly challenging, with bills to allow for the corporate practice of medicine and independent practice for APRNs. KMS was able to signifi cantly alter the corporate practice of medicine bill, and the APRN bill ended up being replaced by a bill to expand Medicaid.
Colombo expects both Medicaid expansion and independent practice to be back next year. Other likely issues include medical marijuana, tobacco and vaping restrictions, and possibly an attempt to address the Hilborn decision.
Kevin Hoppock, MD, chairman of both the KMS and MSSC legislative committees, encouraged members to get involved by helping develop policy positions, participating in grassroots advocacy, and contributing to KaMPAC, the Kansas Medical Political Action Committee.
The annual meeting concluded with the inauguration of a new KMS president, LaDona Schmidt, MD. Board certifi ed in family medicine, Schmidt currently practices at Lawrence Memorial Hospital.