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Archive for Saturday, January 24, 2004

Senate president leery about medical border war

January 24, 2004

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— Senate President Dave Kerr says he wants to avoid a border war with Missouri over hospital patients.

Missouri officials have proposed rules that would require Missouri residents to get special approval before receiving treatment at Kansas hospitals, even if the Kansas hospital is the closest and could provide the best treatment. The rules exclude emergency-room visits.

"I can't imagine Missouri legislators think that's a good way to do business," Kerr said, noting that burn victims could face long transport times under the proposal.

The move comes after a court ruled that Missouri must reimburse the University of Kansas Hospital $5.8 million for underpayments on Missouri Medicaid patients.

Kerr, a Republican from Hutchinson, said he would write Missouri Senate President Peter Kinder, a fellow Republican, to find out what's going on.

Kerr said some Kansas lawmakers had suggested that Kansas retaliate by not allowing Kansas Medicaid patients to go to Missouri hospitals.

But Kerr said Kansas wouldn't want to do that because such a proposal would have to also extend to agreements with hospitals in Colorado, Oklahoma and Nebraska -- other states that border Kansas.

Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, a Democrat, already has written a letter to Missouri officials urging them to quash the change.

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