(Jan. 8, 2021) – Next week, legislators from around the state will convene in Topeka for the beginning of the 2021 Kansas Legislative Session. In ordinary years, there is the usual buzz of anticipation in regards to the events leading up to the commencement. However, similar to what has transpired the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic will alter the typical traditions many are accustomed to experiencing. One such event being modified is the annual State of the State address by Governor Laura Kelly. Earlier this week, Governor Kelly announced she would virtually present her State of the State address. This news was followed by House Republican leadership revealing new safety protocols to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. This includes each legislative committee room adhering to spacing guidelines to permit social distancing, transitioning to paperless documentation and encouraging conferees to remotely present legislative testimony.
In spite of the new COVID-19 requirements altering how legislative business will be conducted in the Kansas statehouse, the KHA advocacy team will be prepared to effectively advocate on behalf of the KHA membership. Heading into the 2021 legislative session, KHA legislative platform includes priorities ensuring Kansas hospitals are able to meet the health care needs of their community in the COVID-19 environment. Besides the extension of the COVID-19 emergency declaration, other health care policies KHA is seeking include flexibilities related to telemedicine usage and the continued need for additional health care coverage through KanCare expansion. Further, KHA will advocate to protect the non-economic damages cap and promote the need for additional support to the behavioral health system. We also ask the Kansas Legislature to consider legislation promoting the use of alternative health care models in rural areas and protect the benefits associated with the 340B Drug Discount Program.
To kick off the start of KHA's advocacy efforts, join us for a briefing at noon on Friday, Jan. 15, to learn how we plan to advocate during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your involvement in advocacy efforts are instrumental to KHA’s success. We hope you carve out time to join us for this event and be an active health care advocate during the 2021 legislative session. Together, we can make a difference.