Capitol Comments Articles
House Health and Human Services Committee Hears Several Bills; Passes One

HouseChamber (Feb. 22, 2021) – Today, the House Health and Human Services Committee, chaired by Brenda Landwehr, held hearings on several bills. Among these was House Bill 2234, which shifts the responsibility of medical protocol approval from county medical society or medical staff of a hospital to the medical director designated by the EMS operator. Testifying as a proponent to House Bill 2234 was Joseph House, executive director of the Emergency Services Board. House discussed how EMS, EMT and the medical society worked closely on the legislation. The committee asked about how COVID-19 impacts protocols, what happens when a hospital is closing or if it changes protocols. Upon the conclusion of the hearing, the committee recommended it favorably for passage. The bill now goes to the full House of Representatives for further debate.

House Bill 2259 also was also heard today. The proposed legislation permits the use of expedited partner therapy to treat a sexually transmitted disease. Health care providers and pharmacists would not be liable for civil damages or subject to disciplinary actions by the Kansas State Board of Health Arts, the Kansas State Board of Nursing or the Kansas Board of Pharmacy resulting from any act or omission in good faith compliance with the provisions of the bill. Phil Griffin with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment provided proponent testimony to the committee. The committee did not take action on the bill.

Finally, the committee held a hearing on House Bill 2281. The proposed legislation establishes and implements 988 as the suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline in Kansas. The hotline would provide 24 hours a day, seven days a week invention services, care coordination and the adoption of rules and regulations by July 16, 2022. The program would be paid for by a $.50 fee for a telecommunications plan. Proponents included:

  • Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services
  • Kyle Kessler, Comprehensive Mental Health Services
  • Kansas Suicide Prevention Headquarters
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness
  • Kansas Department of Health and Environment
  • American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
  • CTIA
  • A School Counselor and
  • Private Citizens

The committee questioned how the $.50 fee was agreed upon and what specifically it would be used for. The chair of the committee indicated a desire to work the bill, along with the following bills in the coming days: House Bill 2209, House Bill 2256, House Bill 2279, House Bill 2280 and House Bill 2259.