(Nov. 15, 2019) – The Kansas Hospital Association Board of Directors met earlier this week, and I wanted to report to you on the board's discussion and actions.
This was the last meeting for Bob Page, president and CEO of The University of Kansas Health System. Bob has been a tremendous addition to the KHA Board. He served as KHA board chair last year and provided us outstanding leadership in that capacity. Bob can always be relied upon to get to the heart of the issue quickly and offer insightful counsel. We will certainly miss his excellent guidance.
While we said goodbye to Bob, we welcomed Don King, Ascension Via Christi, senior vice president CEO and Kansas ministry market leader. We are excited to have Don, a Kansas born leader who has a wealth of experience in healthcare leadership, to the KHA Board.
The KHA Board discussed a number of important advocacy issues on both the state and federal level, including Medicaid disproportionate share hospital funding, the 340B program, surprise medical bills, caps on non-economic damages and scope of practice issues. Much of the advocacy focus of the board was on Kansas Medicaid issues. The board discussed at length the Medicaid expansion plan being developed in the Kansas Senate and expressed encouragement about the forward movement of the issue, but also expressed concern about the potential for delay and provisions of a hospital surcharge contained in the Senate legislation. The board agreed that compromise will be necessary to keep the issue moving forward.
Board members also considered the current hospital assessment program and the KHA proposal to update the assessment rate to help provide more Medicaid funding. It was agreed that while the Kansas Department of Health and Environment has informed us that the new program will not be implemented on Jan. 1, 2020, it is vital to gain approval by July 1, 2020, and we need to continue to press our federal and state elected officials for their assistance.
The board heard a strong financial report and approved the KHA budget for 2020. The board also approved the KHA Strategic Plan for 2020, which again focuses on the strategic priorities of policy influence, quality and patient safety, behavioral health, member engagement and support, workforce, access to care, and financial stability.
2019 is the 50th year anniversary of The Kansas Hospital Education and Research Foundation. The KHA Board took time to celebrate that milestone and all the important programs KHERF has led over the years. Action was taken to approve board appointments for KHERF and also the Kansas Health Services Corporation.
The KHA Board heard reports and updates on a number of important topics, including quality and patient safety; hospital leadership and governance; behavioral health; hospital/physician leadership; new models of care; and the KHA Political Action Committee.
Thanks to our KHA board members for the time they take each meeting to delve into the many issues that are on the agenda and for their superb engagement and leadership. Finally, thanks to Dennis Franks, CEO, Neosho Memorial Regional Medical Center, who has served as KHA Board chair this year. Dennis has been a steady hand who has made his KHA role a priority. We appreciate his dedicated commitment to and support of KHA.