(Jan. 28, 2022) – Last week, the Kansas Hospital Association Board of Directors met virtually for the first time in 2022 and touched upon many current topics impacting Kansas hospitals. Most notably, the board spent a portion of its attention on the latest happenings regarding hospital capacity issues. It is well understood that the recent challenges are the result of many factors including staffing shortages, increases in COVID-19 cases and other respiratory illnesses. As part of the conversation, the board had the opportunity to hear from Janet Stanek, acting secretary for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. Sec. Stanek highlighted the latest agency initiatives and answered questions related to Governor Laura Kelly's executive orders, COVID-19 testing, KDHE's guidance for isolation and quarantine, and the need to support workforce training for certified nursing assistants. Sec. Stanek expressed her appreciation for the partnership between her agency and Kansas hospitals. KHA will continue to build upon this relationship and identify areas of mutual interest to improve the health care provided to our communities.
With the start of the 2022 Kansas legislative session, the board received a recap of the happenings in the legislature. The most significant legislative accomplishment thus far focused on the extension of the governor's emergency orders. The legislation continues many of the regulatory flexibilities for Kansas hospitals until January 2023. Other state legislative topics discussed included telehealth, violence against health care workers, medical marijuana and behavioral health. The 2022 legislative session is expected to involve many of these issues, as well as several unexpected topics.
Additional highlights of the January board meeting are bulleted below:
- Recognition of Larry Van Der Wege for his leadership chairing the KHA Board in 2021. On behalf of the entire KHA membership and staff, we thank Larry for his unwavering leadership and service.
- Selection of Debbie Bruner, administrator and CEO, Minneola Healthcare, to fill an unexpired term on the KHA Board vacated earlier this year.
- Appointment of Pat Patton, CEO, Patterson Health Center, to serve a three-year term on the Kansas Healthcare Collaborative Board of Directors.
- Updates on federal advocacy efforts KHA staff have been working on to include policy initiatives related to the vaccine requirements, 340B Drug Discount Program, Medicare sequestration, Medicaid disproportionate share hospital payments and the hospital provider assessment program.
- Allocation of financial resources to support a short-term public campaign to promote COVID-19 mitigation strategies in Kansas communities.
- Review of the proposed workforce strategic initiatives developed by KHA staff to address health care workforce supply and capacity issues.
- Updates on several education and quality initiatives, including the KHA Critical Issues Summit, March 3-4 in Wichita.
- Review of the 2021 KHA Political Action Committee campaign that exceeded its fundraising goal by raising $67,500.
As always, please don't hesitate to let us know if you have any questions or need assistance on matters affecting your hospital. Your team at KHA is readily available to assist you on any needs!