The Kansas Telemedicine Act came about during the 2018 legislative session and was approved by Gov. Jeff Colyer in May. House Bill 2028 (HB 2028) establishes the Act and provides for coverage of speech-language pathologist and audiologist services via telehealth under the Kansas Medical Assistance Program (KMAP), if such services would be covered under KMAP when delivered via in-person contact. 

The bill defines telemedicine as the delivery of health care services or consultations while the patient is at an originating site and the health care provider is at a distant site. Telemedicine would be provided by means of real-time two-way interactive audio, visual, or audio-visual communications, including the application of secure video conferencing or store-and-forward technology, to provide or support health care delivery that facilities the assessment, diagnosis, consultation, treatment, education and care management of a patient's health care. The term does not include communication between health care providers consisting solely of a telephone voice-only conversation, email or facsimile transmission, or between a physician and a patient consisting solely of an email or facsimile transmission.

Provisions within the legislation state that on and after Jan. 1, 2019 the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and any managed care organization providing state Medicaid services under KMAP would be required to provide coverage for speech-language pathology services and audiology services by means of telehealth.

A medical facility dedicated to telemedicine was built in 2015 in Chestervield, Mo., a St. Louis suburb. Telemedicine is seen as a way to save money while providing quality care for patients who might not otherwise have access to specialists. It has exploded in growth during the past decade. Rep. Jim Kelly (R-Independence), a former Mercy Hospital board member and current member of the Health and Human Services committee which spearheaded the contents of HB 2028, has been speaking on the need for this type of legislation for several years. 

The bill was built off of prior bills HB 2674 and HB 2025. Proponents of the bill in conference committee stated the bill "is a compromise among several stakeholders" and "clearly outlines the criteria for the delivery of health care services via telemedicine and provides a mechanism for thousands of Kansans to receive medical care, especially in rural communities." 

HB 2028 also amends the Mental health Technician's Licensure Act by removing the requirement the Kansas State Board of Nursing conduct mental health technician examinations and by deleting the corresponding fees set forth in the statutory fee schedule. It would also change the description of services included in the definition of the practice of mental health technology by deleting "responsible nursing for patients with mental illness or intellectual disability" and inserting "participation and provision of input into the development of person-centered treatment plans for individuals or groups of individuals specified in paragraph (b)," which are "the mentally ill, emotionally disturbed, or people with intellectual disability" and by including facilitating habilitation of individuals.