Kansas Mental
Health Coalition

2016 Kansas Legislative Session Adjourned

May 02, 2016 3:52 AM | Amy Campbell (Administrator)

2016 Kansas Legislative Session 

Step Therapy / HOPE Act Passes 

The Step Therapy / HOPE Act (CCR on H Sub for SB 402) passed the House 79-43 around midnight Sunday, May 1st, and the Senate 27-13 after 1:15 a.m.  Read the description here.   See the notes here.  Remember - notes are a summary and not a transcript.

All in all, the final language adopted in the conference committee report was significantly better than what had been passed by the Senate in February.  It includes six patient protection amendments proposed by the House conferees on the Health Conference Committee.  Ultimately, the success or harm of the program will depend on the care exercised by the Drug Utilization Review Committee and the Mental Health Medication Advisory Committee.  The Kansas Mental Health Coalition continued to oppose the bill because it did not exempt mental health medications.

House Passes Budget and Adjourns around 1:30 a.m.- Senate Works Past 3:20 a.m. in the early hours of Monday, May 2nd 

The Kansas House approved the budget bill (House Sub for SB 249) at 1:05 a.m. after a little more than an hour of debate. The vote was 63-59.  They adjourned shortly after.  The 2016 Session is being touted as the shortest in 42 years by the House Speaker's Office.  That assumed the Senate would also approve the budget - which seemed uncertain around 3:00 a.m.  It was not clear what they would do if the votes were not there, since the House of Representatives had already gone home, planning to return June 1 for Sine Die.

The Senate was placed on a Call (which would require every senator to be present and vote) because the budget bill was failing on a vote of 17 - 21.  Ultimately, senators began to switch their votes and it passed 22-18.

The budget agreement includes all of the Governor's Budget Amendments except the three budget balancing options.  This includes the added money for the State Mental Health Hospitals.  See the Governor's Budget Amendments here.

Rather than selecting one of the three options to cut programs, the conference committee instead elected to leave the difficult decisions about cutting programs and agencies to the Governor - to the tune of something around $200 million.  If he uses his Option #3 - that will mean 3% to 5% budget cuts to agencies including the KDADS, KDHE, DCF, etc.  The plan also cuts Regents Universities $17.6 million, sweeps $185 million from state highway funds, and counts on $10.6 million from implementing step therapy for Medicaid medications.

A few items of interest added in the conference committee include:

  • Added $319,000 from the State General Fund to keep caseload savings within the Department of Corrections for evidence based juvenile justice programs for FY 2017.  (Preserving savings from SB 367)
  • Added language that any superintendent or physician newly appointed and any new staff, institution personnel, or employee shall be unclassified and Larned State Hospital and Osawatomie State Hospital shall not be outsourced or privatized without Legislative approval. (From SB 460)
  • Add language that any request for proposal to provide services and management at Larned State Hospital or Osawatomie State Hospital in FY 2016 must include provisions for electronic medical records, with patient data not hosted offshore, and any selection of entity providing services or management shall be approved by the Legislature.
  • Add language directing no expenditures can be made during FY 2016 and FY 2017 to proceed with integration of the Medicaid Home and Community Based Services waivers if the proposed integration is planned to occur prior to FY 2019. In addition, include language requiring reports to the Legislature during FY 2017.
  • Add language directing that an amount of State General Fund monies equivalent to the amount received in Tobacco Settlement Funds in excess of all expenditures and transfers made from the Kansas Endowment for Youth Fund be deposited in the Kansas Public Employee Retirement Trust Fund for the purposes of repaying the lapsed amount of KPERS employer contributions plus 8.0 percent per annum for FY 2017 and FY 2018.  (SB 249 would enable the state to delay a $96 million payment to the state‚Äôs pension fund until 2018, giving the state more flexibility to get through the current budget year, which ends in June.)
  • Add language that exempts from the Governor's special allotment authority any item of appropriation for any state agency or school district educating students in K-12 for FY 2016 and FY 2017. 

(c) Kansas Mental Health Coalition, P.O. Box 4744, Topeka, KS  66604  785-969-1617

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