Kansas House Passes Bill Extending Governor’s Orders On Staff For Hospitals, Nursing Homes

TOPEKA — The Kansas House approved legislation Tuesday that would relax qualifications for workers at hospitals and long-term care facilities until May 15.

House Bill 2477 is a response to the governor’s request that the Legislature extend her recent executive orders through law before her emergency declaration expires on Friday. The Senate could consider the House bill, which mirrors the governor’s orders, or pass a competing version.

Gov. Laura Kelly issued the orders on Jan. 6 in response to a new surge in mostly unvaccinated individuals needing care for COVID-19 infections. Hospitals have been unable to provide a staffed ICU bed for everybody who needs one, partly because of chronic understaffing and partly because so many staff members have gotten sick.

The two orders effectively allow retired and student nurses, as well as out-of-state workers, to provide limited duties in health care facilities and adult care homes.

“While certainly not a fix-all, we believe this bill will go a long way toward helping the proponents staff their facilities and provide necessary services to Kansans,” said Rep. Fred Patton, R-Topeka.

Kelly had asked for an extension through March, with the expectation that a surge in cases attributed to the omicron variant will have subsided by then. Patton said the Legislature could reassess before the House law expires on May 15 whether an extension is necessary.

The House passed the bill by a 106-5 vote.

Kansas Reflector is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Kansas Reflector maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Sherman Smith for questions: info@kansasreflector.com. Follow Kansas Reflector on Facebook and Twitter.

Derek Nester
Derek Nesterhttp://www.sunflowerstateradio.com
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2020 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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