News Briefs

Kelly signs bill to bolster health care workforce, reduce sports medicine barriers for visiting athletes

By: - May 9, 2023 11:58 am

Gov. Laura Kelly said the legislation would help with the state's struggle to provide health care for Kansans. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

TOPEKA — Gov. Laura Kelly has signed legislation meant to help patch up the state’s health care workforce shortages and provide more care options for out-of-town athletes.

Kelly announced the signing of Senate Bill 131 Tuesday, a bipartisan bill that passed the House 118-4 and the Senate 38-2. The bill smooths over the licensing process for therapists, psychologists, social workers and health care workers, among others.

“The nationwide workforce shortage has hit Kansas hard, hurting people’s ability to access the health care they need in a timely manner,” Kelly said. “Signing this bipartisan bill is part of how my administration is addressing that shortage, making it easier than ever for Kansans to deliver or access lifesaving care.”

The legislation also expands the list of vaccine administrators. Pharmacy technicians 18 or older and working under supervision will be allowed to administer vaccines if they have received the proper training. Another bill provision sets up an avenue for sports medicine professionals that are licensed in other states to practice in Kansas during qualifying sporting events.

“I am proud to have worked on this bill that expedites the licensing process so we can get more workers in the health care field quicker,” said Rep. Brenda Landwehr, a Wichita Republican. “I’ve seen in my district that the shortage of health care workers has driven up costs and waiting times for everyday people, so I thank Governor Kelly for signing this important legislation to address this issue.”

Sen. Jeff Pittman, a Leavenworth Democrat, said the sports medicine portion of the bill would benefit  professional sports teams visiting the state. Under the legislation, health care providers traveling with a sports team can get a sports waiver to provide services for their teams and coaching staff.

“The timing of the passage of SB 131 could not have been better with the successful 2023 NFL Draft here in the Kansas City area,” Pittman said. “This bill puts in place a critical process allowing team doctors and other healthcare providers for competitive sports teams to practice while visiting our great state. ”

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Rachel Mipro
Rachel Mipro

A graduate of Louisiana State University, Rachel Mipro has covered state government in Baton Rouge and New Orleans. She and her fellow team of journalists were 2022 Goldsmith Prize Semi-Finalists for their work featuring the rise of the KKK in northern Louisiana, following racially-motivated shootings in 1960. With her move to the Midwest, Rachel is now turning her focus toward issues within Kansas public policies.