Defined Healthcare Provider Changes Take Effect January 1, 2015

The 2014 Kansas legislature passed, and Governor Brownback subsequently signed into law, House Bill No. 2516. Among a multitude of changes to many existing statutes, the bill also included changes to the Kansas Health Care Provider Insurance Availability Act (K.S.A. 40-3401 et seq.). The changes incorporate an amendment to add several new providers within the definition of health care provider as set forth in the Act. The new health care providers include physician assistants, certified nurse midwives, nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, and residential health care facilities. The defined health care provider change goes into effect January 1, 2015.
 
The significance of the law for newly added providers is that effective January 1, 2015, they will be required to have individual insurance policies issued by a carrier licensed to offer medical professional liability coverage in Kansas and must carry the minimum levels of coverage designated within the Act. It is important to note that nurse anesthetists have always been included in the definition of defined health care provider, so this change does not impact their status. The two other categories of nurse practitioners – clinical nurse specialists and family nurse practitioners – were not included in the change.
 
With the changes to the Act, the newly added providers are now considered defined health care providers. As such, they now receive certain protections under the Act, one of which is that no defined health care provider can be held vicariously liable for the acts of another defined health care provider. As an example, this now means a hospital or physician cannot be held vicariously liable for the negligent acts of employed physician assistants or certified nurse midwives.
 
Given the rise in frequency of claims against midlevel providers, the cost of individual policies is more than offset by the protections provided by the changes made possible by passage of House Bill 2516. KaMMCO will endeavor to make the transition to the new coverage requirements as seamless as possible. As a KaMMCO member, if you have questions about how these changes may impact you, please call the KaMMCO Underwriting Department at 800.232.2259.