Kansas’s 2020 COVID-19 Legislation (HB 2016) – What Does it Mean for Doctors
During the 2020 Special Session, the Kansas Legislature presented to Governor Laura Kelly HB 2016. HB 2016 is a response to the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic in Kansas. HB 2016 provides, among other things, certain relief related to healthcare issues during this public health emergency. Governor Kelly signed the bill on June 8, 2020. The following are some highlights of HB 2016 as it relates to healthcare providers and healthcare facilities.
Section 10: Healthcare Provider Immunity
A healthcare provider is immune from civil liability for any healthcare decisions, or the failure to render healthcare services, as a direct response to any COVID-19 state of disaster emergency. This immunity does not apply when it is established that the healthcare decision constituted gross negligence or willful, wanton, or reckless conduct. This immunity also would not apply to healthcare services not related to COVID-19. Section 10 applies retroactively to any cause of action accruing on or after March 12, 2020, and prior to the termination of the COVID-19 state of disaster emergency, which is September 15, 2020, unless extended by the State Finance Counsel.
Section 13: Adult Care Facilities
An adult care facility has an affirmative defense in a civil action for a COVID-19 claim if such facility is acting in substantial compliance with public health directives, and the facility was caused, by the facility’s compliance with a statute or rule and regulation, to reaccept a resident who had been removed from the facility for treatment of COVID-19 or to treat a resident who has tested positive for COVID-19 in such facility. Section 13 applies retroactively to any cause of action accruing on or after March 12, 2020, and prior to the termination of the COVID-19 state of disaster emergency, which is September 15, 2020, unless extended by the State Finance Counsel.
Section 19: Adult Care Homes
The Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) must take the following actions with regard to adult care homes: (1) promptly, and no later than 90 days following the effective date of the bill, make or cause to be made infection control inspections; and (2) provide the necessary personal protective equipment, sanitizing supplies, and testing kits appropriate to the needs of each facility on an ongoing basis.
Section 20: Telemedicine
Although a physician would still have to conduct an assessment and evaluation of a patient’s current condition, Section 20 allows a physician to issue a prescription or order administration of medication, including a controlled substance, for a patient, without conducting an in-person examination of the patient. Even physicians under quarantine would be allowed to practice telemedicine. Section 20 expires on January 26, 2021.
Section 21: Hospitals and Medical Care Facilities
A hospital may admit patients in excess of its number of licensed beds or inconsistent with its licensed classification of beds, to the extent the hospital determines is necessary to treat COVID-19 patients and to separate COVID-19 patients and non-COVID-19 patients. Hospitals are also allowed to use non-hospital space to perform COVID-19 testing, triage, quarantine, or patient care, to the extent the hospital determines is necessary to treat COVID-19 patients and to separate COVID-19 patients and non-COVID-19 patients.
A medical care facility may permit healthcare providers authorized to provide healthcare services in Kansas to provide healthcare services at such medical facility without becoming a member of the facility’s medical staff. Section 21 expires 120 calendar days after the expiration or termination of the state of disaster emergency proclamation.
Section 22: Temporary Emergency License
Section 22 allows the Kansas Board of Healing Arts (“Board”) to grant a temporary emergency license to practice to any profession licensed, certified, registered, or regulated by the Board to an applicant with qualifications the Board deems sufficient to protect public safety and welfare for the purpose of preparing for, responding to, or mitigating any effect of COVID-19. Section 22 expires on January 26, 2021.
Section 23: Temporary Licensure Measures for Additional Healthcare Providers
This section allows physician assistants, advanced practice registered nurses, nurse anesthetists, licensed practical nurses, and licensed pharmacists to provide healthcare services “appropriate to such provider’s education, training, and experience” as necessary to support the facility’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Designated health care facilities are temporarily authorized to allow students to volunteer for work within the facility to support the facility’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic; and to allow medical students, physical therapists, and emergency medical personnel to volunteer or work within the facility as “respiratory therapist extenders” under the supervision of physicians, respiratory therapists, or advanced practice registered nurses.
A professional certification in basic life support, advanced cardiac life support, or first aid shall remain valid if such certification is due to expire or be canceled while the state of disaster emergency issued in response to the COVID-19 pandemic is in effect.
Health care professionals licensed and in good standing in another state can practice in Kansas. Moreover, Kansas laws and regulations are temporarily suspended to the extent that they require a health care professional, as a condition of licensure, certification, registration, or the renewal of a license, certification, registration, or reinstatement within five years of a lapsed license to do any of the following: an exam, to the extent the exam’s administration has been canceled while the emergency declaration is in effect; fingerprinting; continuing education while the emergency declaration is in effect; and the payment of a fee. Section 23 expires on January 26, 2021.