Kansas Mental
Health Coalition

News

Welcome to our News page for organization news, articles and other information.  Please sign in to post comments.  Members are welcome to submit articles or announcements from their own organizations for posting on our News page.  Simply email us and include "Post to Website" in the memo line.  There may be some delay, but we will post your news as soon as possible.

The Kansas Mental Health Coalition retains the right to edit or restrict all content, including news items and comments.

  • May 04, 2017 4:03 PM | Amy Campbell (Administrator)

    Senate Ways and Means Passes Several Key Bills

    This afternoon, the Senate Ways and Means Committee passed several key bills. 

    1. HB 2002 is the Senate’s omnibus budget bill – containing the items not addressed in the mega-budget bill.  It includes some of the Governor’s Budget Amendments, consensus caseloads adjustments and such.  After making another round of adjustments and adding new provisos this afternoon, the committee adopted Senate Sub for HB 2002 on a vote of 11-2  The Senate omnibus bill does not fully fund the Osawatomie State Hospital shortfall, but does include $2.8 m for FY 17 and $6.6 m for FY 18 (half of the Governor’s request).  The Senate committee also added provisos – the first requires the agency to issue an RFP to build a 100 bed state hospital facility at Osawatomie to be operated by the State.  The second asks the agency for a full engineering study of the buildings and property and the rehabilitation or demolition needs at Osawatomie State Hospital.  See the attached notes of the committee meeting last Friday to read the committee discussion beginning page 6 re: OSH.  (Read the notes from Senate Ways and Means Friday, April 28.)
    2. HB 2130 – now contains the MCO privilege fees language needed to restore the Medicaid reimbursement cuts.  Will need to see a copy to compare with HB 2180.
    3. Senate Sub for HB 2278 – contains the language from SB 235 to exempt state hospitals, KU Hospital Authority, community mental health centers, indigent care clinics and public adult care homes from the concealed carry requirements.  According to Chair Carolyn McGinn, the committee has been waiting for an amendment to be negotiated, but that amendment has not been forthcoming.  Therefore, the committee would advance this bill or would need to add the $12 million for security at the state mental health hospitals as described in the Governor’s Budget Amendment request.  (See page 2 of the notes to read the notes from the committee discussion last week on the topic of allowing guns on the state mental health hospital campus.)  The motion was offered by Senator Anthony Hensley and seconded by Senator Skubal.  A motion to amend by including college campuses was reluctantly withdrawn by Senator Tom Hawk when it appeared the amendment could scuttle the entire bill.  The bill was adopted as amended on a voice vote with one recorded “no” from Senator Alley.


  • May 03, 2017 2:06 PM | Amy Campbell (Administrator)

    The Senate approved legislation creating the Crisis Intervention Act – it will now go to the House for approval, where it is expected to pass.  The House passed the Act (referred to as the CIA) under the original bill title HB 2240 on February 23.  Then, the Judiciary Conference Committee inserted HB 2240 into Senate Sub for HB 2053 the first week of April prior to First Adjournment.  The House is likely to vote on the conference committee report Thursday.

    Read the conference committee report summary here:  http://www.kslegislature.org/li/b2017_18/measures/documents/ccrb_hb2053_01_0000.pdf

    Senate Sub for HB 2053 was introduced and passed the House as HB 2240, the Crisis Intervention Act. It still carries a title referring to asbestos - but those contents were removed in conference.  The Act creates an entity licensed by the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) that is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, equipped to serve voluntary and involuntary individuals in crisis due to mental illness, substance abuse, or a co-occurring condition, and that uses certified peer specialists.  One of the primary goals is to provide immediate services to individuals who come to the designated center in a behavioral health crisis – and who might otherwise have to endure extended waiting periods before being involuntarily committed and ultimately admitted to state mental health hospitals. Since the moratorium on admissions at Osawatomie State Hospital was put in place, there are between 6 and 36 people waiting in emergency rooms or other places on any given day, and these locations may or may not be properly staffed for the safety and appropriate care of these individuals. 

    “Crisis intervention center service area” would be defined as the counties to which the crisis intervention center has agreed to provide service.  Allows 72-hour involuntary admission, requires evaluation of a person admitted under the Act by a behavioral health professional not later than 23 hours after admission and again not later than 48 hours after admission.  Research outcomes in other states indicate that these kinds of services at the community level can help individuals to access treatment and release more quickly – with many able to go home in less than 72 hours, avoiding longer unnecessary commitments.  At this time, there are only a few facilities in the state that might qualify for these licenses.  It remains to be seen if funds for additional crisis stabilization services will survive the legislative budget process


  • April 05, 2017 4:49 PM | Amy Campbell (Administrator)

    First Adjournment Approaches, Budget News

     

    The Kansas Legislature is working toward First Adjournment Friday April 7 - when they will break for several week before returning to Topeka for Veto Session.  To date, there isn't a state budget, tax plan, or new school finance plan.

    Today, the House is debating HB 2180 - a bill to fund the reinstatement of the four percent Medicaid reimbursement cuts through increased privilege fees on managed care organizations.  It is controversial because there are HMO insurance plans outside Kancare that would also be responsible for the fees.  The bill is supported by a coalition of provider groups, including the Association  of Community Mental Health Centers and Kansas Association of Addiction Professionals.

    Yesterday, an attempt by Rep. Ward to pull a gun-related bill up for House consideration failed.  The bill would have been a vehicle for amendments to extend the concealed carry exemption for hospitals, colleges, mental health centers and other public buildings.

    Yesterday, the Senate adopted the conference committee report on the Rescission Budget bill (Senate Sub for HB 2052) which funds the current fiscal year ending June 30, 2017.

    The House has not yet passed a mega-budget bill to fund FY 18 and FY 19.

    Yesterday, the press reported there were meetings between legislative leaders and the Governor to attempt to put forward a tax plan.  We don't know if there was consensus.  The Senate Taxation Committee has advanced a flat tax bill that might receive Senate consideration - but is considered by many to be unfair to lower income Kansans.   The Committee added a food sales tax reduction to try to balance those considerations.

    The House Appropriations and Senate Ways and Means Committees are supposed to return to Topeka the week before Veto Session to continue work on their budget issues.

    Meanwhile, the Legislature continues to churn through bills.

    Medicaid Expansion and Clubhouse Legislation Veto

    On Monday, the House was unable to override the Governor's veto, so the Medicaid Expansion legislation and the Breakthrough Club Program legislation would have to be amended into a different bill to survive.

    Read the statement from the Alliance for a Healthy Kansas:

    While we came up short in overriding the Governor’s reckless veto of the KanCare expansion bill, our fight continues. Now is not the time to be discouraged.

    The calls, emails, turnout at meetings and rallies, and the support you and your organization helped generate has propelled us to get to where we are. As a result, we’re very close to making KanCare expansion a reality.  

    Thank you.

    Our work goes on. Expanding KanCare will continue to be discussed this session because legislators know they need to respond to us -- 82% of Kansans support the effort.

    And if we’re not able to expand KanCare this session, we will continue to organize and engage. After all, in less than a year, our Alliance was able to get a bill passed in both legislative chambers by overwhelming margins. Imagine what we can do with another year of advocacy and outreach.

    Together, we can expand KanCare. Bringing our tax dollars home can improve the lives of more than 150,000 Kansans – our neighbors, our friends, our families – and help protect our hospitals and our communities. This is not only the right thing to do, it’s the best way forward.

    Over the weekend, thousands of calls were made to legislators and hundreds showed up at community forums in Silver Lake, Olathe, Ottawa, Hutchinson and Lincoln. The Lawrence Journal World’s coverage of the Silver Lake forum noted that two years ago, it would have been unthinkable for 50 people to turn out to event urging legislators to expand KanCare.  

    You and your organization’s activism and engagement has changed the discussion about health care and the need to KanCare. By being actively involved, we are forcing legislators to realize their health policy decisions impact real people and are not just talking points on a campaign postcard.

    I could not be more honored to be fighting with you to expand KanCare and to make Kansas a healthier place to live and work.   

    Thank you again for all of your support,

    David Jordan

    Alliance for a Healthy Kansas
    700 SW Jackson Street Suite 600
    Topeka KS 66603 United States


  • March 30, 2017 10:22 AM | Amy Campbell (Administrator)

    Gov. Sam Brownback vetoed  HB 2044 - the bill that included clubhouse rehabilitation programs and Medicaid Expansion language.  The bill was expected to provide Medicaid coverage to up to 150,000 low-income Kansans.  It would have provided coverage to many of the uninsured individuals currently receiving unreimbursed care at community mental health centers and hospitals. 

    Brownback’s veto was announced this morning on Twitter and was expected by many legislators, journalists and lobbyists.  The Kansas Legislature has 30 days to override the veto, which would require two-thirds majorities in both the House and Senate.  See the Governor's twitter announcement below.

    Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/news/politics-government/article141667939.html#storylink=cpy 

    Twitter

    Sam Brownback    @govsambrownback

    I vetoed Medicaid expansion. It does not prioritize the vulnerable. It does not #DefundPP. It isn't responsible. It's bad for Kansas. #ksleg

    8:28 AM - 30 Mar 2017


  • March 28, 2017 4:14 PM | Amy Campbell (Administrator)

    Today - the Kansas Senate passed HB 2044 with a vote of 25 to 14.  This bill is also known as "the KanCare bridge to a healthy Kansas program."   

    Advocates will now wait to see if the Governor will veto the legislation.

    Kansas Senate votes to expand Medicaid as Gov. Sam Brownback doubles down on opposition     Read more here: http://wwwkansascity.com/news/politics-government/article141118813.html#storylink=cpy


  • March 17, 2017 3:57 PM | Amy Campbell (Administrator)

    Thank you for attending Mental Health Advocacy Day.  We hope you were able to talk about mental health with legislators and meet new people who care as much as you do.

    To make the most of your trip, we ask that you do two more things:

    1. Thank your legislators.  Please send a short thank you to legislators for your meetings and be sure to include your contact information and any followup information you may have promised.  There are tips in the following document - Click Here for Step by Step Tips for Appointments with Legislators

    2. Please provide feedback about your experience and your appointments at the following link

    www.surveymonkey.com/r/Advocacy_Day_2017

    Complete your feedback form by March 22nd and your name will be entered into a drawing for a $50 gift card.


  • January 09, 2017 10:29 AM | Amy Campbell (Administrator)

    The Kansas Legislature convened for the 2017 Legislative Session today, January 9, in Topeka.

    MARK YOUR CALENDARS NOW:  March 15, 2017 – Mental Health Advocacy Day   The schedule and registration information will be sent in a separate message.

    Click to see the 2017 Session Planner here. This calendar shows the days the Legislature will be in session and the deadlines for bill introductions and passage.  It is subject to change.  Legislative leaders expect to have a longer legislative session this year, and will face issues such as major tax changes, Medicaid expansion, and a new school finance formula.  The task will be challenging, with revenues $340 million short for the fiscal year ending in June.  Most of the newly elected legislators ran on the promise to reform the income tax reductions for business owners that were passed in 2012 and 2013 – but the Governor is opposed.  

    The Governor’s State of the State speech will be 5:00 p.m. Tuesday, January 10, and the House and Senate budget committees will receive the Governor’s Budget Proposal Wednesday morning.  Shawn Sullivan, Budget Director, will present the report to the House Appropriations and Taxation Committees at 9:00 a.m. and Senate Ways and Means Committee at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.  That report will be posted at the Governor's Budget website at 9:00 a.m. Wednesday - http://budget.ks.gov .  It is expected to contain a combination of budget cuts and revenue changes.

    It is important to take a moment each Friday to look at the House and Senate calendars posted for the following week at www.kslegislature.org to see what public hearings and meetings are scheduled for the following week.  This is especially important if you are watching specific issues of interest.  A better way to be prepared to act is to contact the committee secretary (listed below each committee name in the calendar) and ask IF and WHEN a bill or issue is to be discussed.  Typically, if you wish to testify or submit written comments for a public hearing on a bill, you will need to sign up with the secretary and turn in your testimony or comments at least 24 hours in advance.  Each committee’s rules are different and secretaries may have different requirements.  Unfortunately, there will also be hearings that pop up in the middle of the week with very little advance notice.  Committee schedules are also posted on the walls outside the House and Senate chambers and updated when changes occur.


  • September 09, 2016 10:05 AM | Amy Campbell (Administrator)

    Mental Health Matters - Now Is the Time to Reach Out to Candidates

    This the time when current legislators and those who are running for office are most engaged in listening to the people in their communities.  Please reach out to the candidates in your local races and share your interest in mental health issues.  

    Click here to view a list of 2016 Election Candidates.


  • May 02, 2016 6:30 AM | Amy Campbell (Administrator)

    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’s 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. 


  • 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’s 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 4103, Topeka, KS  66604-0103         785-969-1617

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