Current Report Articles
President's Perspective – KHA Board Delves into Advocacy, Workforce Initiatives

KHANewLogoSquare (Mar. 29, 2024) – Earlier this week, the Kansas Hospital Association's Board of Directors met in Topeka to discuss business related to the association and those pertinent topics facing Kansas hospitals, including the latest advocacy issues on the state and federal levels.

The Kansas Legislature is expected to adjourn the regular portion of the 2024 session on Friday, April 5, and head home for a three-week break before they return on April 29, to begin the annual veto session. Several health care policy issues continue to remain in play, including increases to the Medicaid reimbursement rates for hospitals and physicians. The Senate and House Budget Conference Committee will negotiate the hospital Medicaid rate increase proposals, which is $45.2 million all funds in the House and nearly $80 million all funds in the Senate for the state fiscal year 2025. The Senate also is recommending an additional increase of $147 million for all funds in the state fiscal year 2026. Besides increasing Medicaid rates, KHA will continue to advocate for policy initiatives to increase Kansans' health care coverage and reduce administrative burdens to health care providers. We appreciate everyone's involvement in KHA's advocacy efforts, especially the work from the membership in reaching out to elected officials regarding the hospital transparency legislation earlier this week.

The KHA Board also broke into small group discussions to discuss workforce recruitment and retention challenges and opportunities. Progress has been made among the membership in promoting health care careers. Last month, KHA spearheaded an effort with several KHA members, and the education community, to highlight health care careers during the 2024 Virtual Health Care Career Day. We also launched, with an interactive career quiz, to help connect individuals to career information, scholarships and schools. The establishment of HOSA chapters for high school students continues in many Kansas communities to serve as a positive recruitment tool.

While a successful recruitment strategy is essential for the future, it also is vital to invest in retention efforts for the current workforce. Kansas hospitals are exploring several creative and innovative approaches to support and develop our current health care professionals. These efforts include mentorship programs, leveraging artificial intelligence to reduce administrative burdens, exploring alternative staffing models and maximizing flexibilities. Even though work remains to ensure a sustainable workforce, the future appears bright!

Additional highlights of the March board meeting are bulleted below:

  • Approved changes to the KHA Executive Committee to move Tammy Peterson, president, Kansas City Division, The University of Kansas Health System, Kansas City, to the KHA Secretary/Treasurer position and Val Gleason, president and CEO, NMC Health, Newton to the at-large position
  • Acknowledged Harold Courtois, CEO, of Memorial Health System, Abilene for his service on the KHA Executive Committee
  • Received a recap from Larry Van Der Wege, administrator, Lindsborg Community Hospital, Lindsborg, regarding the recent American Hospital Association's Regional Policy Board Meeting
  • Approved the KHA membership application for the New Birth Company, LLC, Overland Park (specialty hospital member)
  • Discussed and adopted the KHA Finance Report
  • Approved the recommendation by the KHA Communication Committee to change the name of the "Health Care Worker of the Year" award to the "Heart of Health Care Award"
  • Reviewed the current public perception campaign and member toolkit, "We Put Our Hearts Into It"
  • Highlighted the work of the maternal health initiatives happening in Kansas
  • Discussed the preparations for the 2024 KHA Convention and Trade Show, including the theme "Champions of Change"
  • Received an update on the Kansas Hospital Association Political Action Committee fundraising status and upcoming activities

Contact KHA if you have any questions or need assistance on matters affecting your hospital. We hope to see you at Spring District Meetings.
--Chad Austin