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Kentucky Healthcare Reform Update


Email Alert

By Ed L. Schoenbaechler*

June 10, 2009

The 2009 Kentucky General Assembly introduced 734 bills, of which 101 became law. Unless a bill contains an emergency provision, it becomes effective June 26, 2009. Although the budget short fall dominated the session, a few health-related bills made their way to Governor Steve Beshear (D) for signature:

  • HB 143—The Budget Reduction Act gives the Governor authority to use federal funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for certain defined purposes, including the requirement that Medicaid claims be paid prior to June 30, 2009. The bill also permits the Governor to address budget deficits of 5% or less without direction from the General Assembly.
  • HB 144—Doubled the state's tobacco tax to sixty cents a pack and extended the state sales tax to retail alcohol sales.
  • HB 480—Gives priority in the Best in Class student loan forgiveness program to nurses; teachers in the fields of math, science, and special education; and public-service attorneys.
  • HB 292—Provides additional funding for the University of Louisville Bucks for Brains translational research program.
  • HB 383—Following the death last year of a high school football player, this bill requires high school coaches to become certified in student safety, with a focus on automated external defibrillators. The bill also requires a certified person to be present at every practice and game.
  • SB 22—Requires personal service businesses, including home health agencies, to conduct a criminal background check on all employees and prohibits the hiring of persons convicted of theft, abuse, or exploitation of an adult or child; drug offenses; or sex offenses.

Bills that were not passed but are expected to return for consideration include:

  • HB 67—Requiring mandatory admission and discharge testing and website reporting of all multiple-drug-resistant organisms.
  • HB 515—The Nurse's Free Speech Act, emphasizing the nurse's role as a fiduciary and advocate for patients, and protecting nurses from retaliation for reporting unsafe practices or violations of policies or laws.
  • HB 434 and HB 253—Extending Good Samaritan liability protection to persons rendering medical care and services during declared emergencies.
  • SB 61—Requiring Medicaid to provide smoking cessation treatment interventions for pregnant women.
  • HB 288—Expanding the prescription authority of physician assistants.
  • SB 6 and HB 11—Requiring public schools in grades preschool to eighth grade to implement thirty minutes per day or 150 minutes per week of structured physical activity.

The Governor has called a Special Session of the General Assembly for June 15, 2009, to address the projected $996 million revenue shortage for the 2009-2010 fiscal year. The approval of slot machines at Kentucky racetracks is expected to be considered, a controversial effort to assist the state's struggling horse-racing industry. No consensus has been reached on the full agenda for the Special Session.

*We wish to thank By Ed L. Schoenbaechler, Esquire (Hall Render Killian Heath & Lyman PC, Louisville, KY) for writing this email alert.

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