Sen. Alicia Straub was one of two senators to oppose a bill expanding pharmacists’ scope of practice in Kansas. She had concerns regarding pharmacy standards and malpractice insurance. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)
TOPEKA — The Kansas Senate approved Tuesday a series of bills expanding pharmacists’ scope of practice, amending insurance code and updating terminology for deaf or hard of hearing Kansans.
Senate Bill 200, which would allow pharmacists to test for and treat certain health conditions, passed 37 to 2, but Sen. Alicia Straub, R-Ellinwood, had concerns about the measure. Questions relating to pharmacists’ standards and malpractice insurance that went unanswered led her to oppose the measure.
“I vote no not because I don’t want to provide more access to care, but because I value the quality of that care over quantity,” Straub said. “I think we all can relate to standing in line at a pharmacy. I’m not sure how our pharmacists are going to also be providing and practicing medicine.”
This measure now headed to the House covers influenza, streptococcal pharyngitis and urinary tract infections.
Senators also approved a final bill updating the term “hearing impairment” to “hard of hearing” in state statute without opposition. Proponents of the measure said the past terminology was a form of tacit discrimination.
“As a general rule, it is proper when referring to a person with a disability or disabilities by putting the person first and then using a positive reference such as ‘a person with a hearing loss,’” said Robert Cooper, executive director of the Kansas Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing during a hearing on the bill last month. “Individuals may prefer you to refer to them as deaf or hard of hearing.”
Sen. Kristin O’Shea introduced the bill on behalf of her constituent, Sarah Hale, after a discussion about other states taking similar steps. Along with the statutory changes, legislators and advocates plan an educational effort to ensure the correct terminology is not just reflected in statute but also within the community.
“We agreed that policy change was a good step in the right direction, but only one piece of the puzzle,” O’Shea said. “A large part of this challenge with language will also require educating the public.”
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