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Legislators, lobbyists spotlight hot-button well being coverage points forward of 2023 session

TOPEKA — Kansas Chamber president Alan Cobb stated the Legislature ought to totally study whether or not faculties and schools had been artificially inflating educational necessities of individuals enrolled in packages resulting in an occupational license.

Cobb, who leads the enterprise lobbying group, raised the problem throughout a panel dialogue of well being points more likely to be raised throughout the 2023 legislative session opening in January. An interim committee of the Legislature has already delved into whether or not the state’s requirement of 90 hours of instruction for licensed nurse assistants was out of step with the 75-hour mandate of federal businesses.

“It is too typically pushed by those that are offering the coaching,” Cobb stated. “Why do we now have 1,500 clock hours to be a cosmetologist? The general public will not be demanding that. It is many occasions the cosmetology faculties. That sounds somewhat skeptical (or) cynical, however there’s one thing to that.”

Kansas Well being Institute, a nonprofit group in Topeka advocating for policymaking by nonpartisan analysis and schooling, hosted legislators and lobbyists for a dialog about problems with significance to them in addition to matters more likely to emerge within the 2023 Legislature. The Home and Senate have giant Republican majorities, whereas Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly received a second time period on Nov. 8.

Chad Austin, president of the Kansas Hospital Affiliation, stated the Legislature would definitely evaluation reform of schooling and tax coverage to handle the substantial workforce scarcity gripping the well being care trade.

He stated 80% of Kansas counties had an inadequate variety of primary-care well being staff. It goes past nursing, he stated, to incorporate radiology technicians, respiratory therapists, dietary aids and environmental service workers, he stated.

He stated the Kansas hospitals had been fighting a wave of retirements, workers departing for jobs in nonhospital settings and staff pivoting to second careers. Hospital workers turnover and vacancies are increased than three years in the past, he stated. Stress of COVID-19 was an element, however different contributing elements included availability of reasonably priced housing and little one care.

Austin stated the Legislature ought to rethink a invoice that did not survive the 2022 session that might assist present higher bodily safety for well being care staff in hospitals. There are also points with flexibility of telehealth providers, staffing amongst lecturers in well being teaching programs and total monetary sustainability of hospitals, he stated.

Rep. Susan Ruiz, a Kansas Metropolis, Kansas, Democrat on the panel, stated the Legislature ought to resolve Republican opposition to growth of eligibility for Medicaid. The GOP-led Legislature or GOP governors have thwarted an enactment of Medicaid reform since 2014, successfully blocking $5.9 billion in federal funding that might have flowed by the well being care system in Kansas.

Kelly up to now proposed plans so as to add greater than 100,000 lower-income Kansans to this system, and he or she promised to submit a brand new suggestion in January.

“I hear from constituents and small enterprise homeowners in regards to the want for Medicaid growth,” Ruiz stated. “I do know it isn’t a subject that everybody agrees on.”

Glenda DuBoise, state director of AARP Kansas, endorsed Medicaid growth as did Austin of the hospital affiliation.

She stated AARP would add to the want record additional funding in broadband web providers to widen the sweep of telehealth packages and to assist the aged keep away from isolation by on-line contact with households. Tens of hundreds of thousands of federal {dollars}, partly in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, have been invested within the Kansas broadband throughout the previous two years.

“We’re very enthusiastic about the opportunity of figuring out that we are going to be about to get that into extra properties, into rural areas of the state,” DuBoise stated.

Sen. Molly Baumgardner, a Republican from Lindsborg, stated she anticipated the Legislature to proceed working to handle youth suicide, to discover weaknesses within the foster care system and to deal with challenges of modernizing packages for kids with developmental disabilities.

The senator anticipated legal professionals would prioritize a evaluation of providers to youngsters with dyslexia and different cognitive studying points.

“We now have seen some steps ahead, however it actually is time to revisit. Have the benchmarks been met and what are faculties actually doing in school rooms?” Baumgardner stated. “Having the ability to learn, for a kid, is so vital.”

Wichita Rep. Brenda Landwehr, a Republican, stated she would hope the Legislature thought of choices for offering psychological well being providers to youngsters in household courtroom as a consequence of divorce of the dad and mom. She additionally desires to position into state legislation funding for psychological well being packages in Okay-12 faculties. To this point, she stated, the school-based initiative has relied on year-to-year renewal of financing.

“It is now bought a monitor report of a whole lot of success,” Landwehr stated. “There is not a yr that has passed by that we do not hear a couple of life that has been saved.”

In response to a query, Landwehr stated a invoice legalizing medical marijuana in Kansas could be first taken up by the Senate. In 2022, the Home adopted a invoice outlining regulation of marijuana for medical makes use of. The Senate did not think about that measure. Kelly has endorsed legalizing medical marijuana.

Cobb, president of the Kansas Chamber, stated the laws ought to be drafted to allow Kansas employers to take care of office substance abuse points in a fashion in step with consumption of alcohol on the job. He stated companies within the Kansas Chamber had been break up on the problem of medicinal marijuana.

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