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 23, 2017 9:01 AM | Amy Campbell (Administrator)

    Tomorrow is Day 100 of the 2017 Kansas Legislative Session – Another Tax Bill Rejected

    House leaders hoped to gain progress as they began the 4th week of the Veto Session with a new tax bill – but it did not work out as planned.  The Tax Conference Committee crafted Sub for SB 30 on Monday afternoon, and the House debated the bill at 7 p.m. Monday evening.  It was a combination of income tax increases and motor fuels tax anticipated to raise about $600 million per year. 

    It appeared this new tax package might pass – afternoon social media posts by several moderate interest groups supported the plan – but it failed 53-68.  Read SB 30 Summary here.  Most of the House Democrats have pledged to hold out until an education funding plan is part of the package.  Multiple Republicans spoke against the bill – saying it raised more revenue than is necessary to close the immediate budget gap.  That is unclear without an education plan.

    Read the article : Kansas Votes Down Latest Plan to Roll Back Brownback Tax Plan – Kansas City Star http://www.kansascity.com/news/politics-government/article152071472.html

    House and Senate leaders have been working to close the $900 million budget gap between revenues and forecast expenditures before resolving the education funding challenge put forth by the Kansas Supreme Court.  In order to do that, they would need to convince enough education supporters that there will be a separate funding bill that is sufficient to satisfy the court before the end of the session, and many just aren’t buying it. 

    So, all of those who are counting on pieces of the mega-budget and omnibus budget plans must simply wait to see if tax policy can be crafted that would preserve their needs while also covering whatever new funding target the Legislature adopts for K-12 education.  (Neither the mega-budget nor omnibus budget proposals have been voted on by either chamber.)

    The Senate Education Budget Committee is meeting this afternoon and Chair Jim Denning suggested they may work well into the night to put together a Senate education plan. The Senate has lagged behind the House in working on an education proposal.

    The House Education Budget Committee passed a bill “without recommendation” on May 15 that would spend an additional $179 million in the 1st year and $100 million in the 2nd year, but it has not seen action in the full House.  Many were disappointed with that proposal, because it fell short of a plan that had been under development in the committee to increase K-12 funding $150 million per year for five years.  The bill does fund all-day kindergarten and adds $21 million for at risk students.   If that bill reaches the House floor for debate, it is certain to draw many amendments.

    Last Friday, House Minority Leader Jim Ward offered a motion to pull that bill above the line for immediate House debate, but it was denied – and the Speaker called it “theatrics”.

    The Supreme Court ordered the Kansas Legislature to address school funding adequacy by June 30.


  • May 23, 2017 8:05 AM | Amy Campbell (Administrator)

    The Kansas Legislature does not pay for secretaries for rank and file legislators after the 90th day of the session,which was May 14.  Bizarrely, some legislators do not check their office messages, meaning that a constituent calling a legislative office may receive a voice message saying the office is “closed” until January.  

    If you run into this problem, the majority of legislators are continuing to monitor their emails and many have alternative phone numbers on their profile at www.kslegislature.org.  This veto session could easily go well into June, and many key issues are still to be debate - so please do not stop contacting your legislators!


  • May 18, 2017 7:50 PM | Amy Campbell (Administrator)

    The Senate passed the Conference Committee Report for HB 2313 on May 18 on a vote of 21-16.

    HB 2313 would amend the Kansas Lottery Act to allow the use of lottery ticket vending machines, the use of instant bingo vending machines, amend law concerning underage purchasing of lottery tickets and amends the State Debt Setoff Program.  The instant bingo vending machines language was added by the conference committee and created controversy in the Senate.

    The bill would authorize moneys in the Lottery Operating Fund be used for transfers to the Community Crisis Stabilization Centers Fund and Clubhouse Model Program Fund of the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services.  These are new funds that would be created at KDADS.  Funds transfers would provide 75% to the Community Crisis Stabilization Centers Fund and 25% to the Clubhouse Model Program Fund.  Funds would be limited to no more than $4 million in FY 18 and $8 million in FY 19, FY 20, FY 21, and FY 22.

    If the House adopts HB 2313, the mega-budget bill proposal would likely be adjusted reduce additional funds set aside for these services – as per a proviso adopted by the House Appropriations Committee.

    The bill makes lottery and casino winnings subject to state debt program and can be withheld for child support or other state debt.  Tickets purchased by underage individuals (under 18) would be void.  


  • May 04, 2017 4:05 PM | Amy Campbell (Administrator)

    Today, Congress passed the AHCA repealing the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) with a partisan vote of 217-213. The bill will go to the Senate.  It is expected to be amended in the Senate.

    The legislation would offer tax credits instead of subsidies to pay for health coverage.  It allows states to opt out of basic requirements established by the ACA, including essential health benefits, coverage for preexisting conditions, etc. It requires states to provide high risk pools to cover those with preexisting conditions, if the state chooses to opt out and offers some funding that could be used to help pay for that and health services not covered. 

    The legislation changes the current cost equalization formula, allowing premiums to be lower for young people and higher for older adults.  Medicaid would no longer be funded according to beneficiaries’ needs – it would be paid on a per member basis or states could accept a limited block grant for their program.  Kansas state officials have been talking about a Medicaid block grant for over a year, hoping that would help them to eliminate the annual cost increases to the program.  (It is not clear how annual health care cost increases would be managed if the funding does not grow at a comparable rate.)

    The legislation attempts to encourage policyholders to avoid lapses in coverage by requiring a 30% surcharge when policies lapse.  (This, of course, assumes that people have some choice in whether or not their policies lapse.)  

    The bill will repeal the payroll tax and investment tax increases on higher income payors that were designed to help pay for the ACA.

    Kansas delegation in U.S. House unanimously votes for partial Obamacare repeal, http://cjonline.com/news/local/2017-05-04/kansas-delegation-us-house-unanimously-votes-partial-obamacare-repeal

    Read an article about what is in the AHCA legislation  https://www.nytimescom/2017/05/04/us/politics/major-provisions-republican-health-care-bill.html?_r=0


  • 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.



(c) Kansas Mental Health Coalition, P.O. Box 4103, Topeka, KS  66604-0103         785-969-1617

Powered by Wild Apricot. Try our all-in-one platform for easy membership management