by Dena K. Hubbard MD, FAAP
Like most other things this spring, the 2020 Kansas Legislative Session has been turned upside down d by COVID-19. Some legislative committees are meeting virtually or in-person leading up to the one-day wrap-up on May 21. Major issues to be addressed include COVID relief; Governor’s Emergency Powers authority; distribution and oversight of federal COVID funds; medical/business liability protections; property tax issues; unemployment issues.
KAAP has been busy advocating for pediatricians and pediatric patients. This has included frequent communication with Governor Kelly’s office and KDHE on telehealth payments, increase in Medicaid payments (goal of parity with Medicare), and enhanced liability protections for health care professionals and entities during the current pandemic.
Here is a list of resources and action steps related to Federal Families First COVID Response Act for your consideration.
- Call or email your state/tribal WIC director and urge them to apply for a waiver from certification requirements. See this partner toolkit from the National WIC Association with additional information.
- Call or email your state/local school food authority (SFA) and urge them to apply an existing meal pattern waiver. Promote state and local sites offering food. Promote sites where families can pick up prepackaged meals to go. Promote the SNAP program for families who are food insecure.
- KAAP is advocating for more covered telehealth visits, payment parity, and more accepted sites of care.
- AAP Guidance: Telehealth Payer Policy in Response to COVID-19, outlines policy changes aiming to alleviate barriers to telehealth care.
- AAP resource: Coding for COVID-19 and Non-Direct Care
- AAP webinar: Telehealth and COVID-19. AAP online telehealth compendium
- Re: paid family and sick leave, see these pediatric practice management tips for suggestions for your consideration.
- Contact Kansas Labor Department and urge them to expand unemployment eligibility and/or reduce barriers to access unemployment services (several governors/state labor departments have relaxed these requirements in the last week) and/or to increase the length of Kansas’ unemployment compensation/insurance program.
We anticipate increased activity in the months ahead to address COVID relief; continued discussions on potential permanent implementation of some practices outlined in executive orders (i.e. telemedicine, occupational licensing, etc.) and remain vigilant in our advocacy for Kansas children, families, and pediatricians. While we are coordinating advocacy efforts as a chapter, it is essential that your local decision-makers hear from you as well.
Also, during this time as we reflect on the “new normal” post COVID19, I encourage you to think about what shouldn’t go back to normal. How can KAAP help empower you as physician leaders to take back the doctor-patient relationship, improve efficiency, decrease and eliminate waste and barriers to providing the care your patients need? COVID19 has highlighted health inequities, how can we seize this opportunity to make positive changes? Let us know how we can help you!