KANSAS (KSNT) – Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly signed House Bill 2477 enacting into law two executive orders that provide staffing flexibility to address staffing shortages in health care and long-term care facilities due to the surge in COVID-19 cases.

Earlier the Kansas House of Representatives passed a bill to extend two executive orders signed by Gov. Laura Kelly earlier this month in order to respond to the COVID-19 comeback in the state.

Representatives voted 106-5 in favor of the bill. The bill was approved by the Senate.

Kelly signed a State of Disaster Emergency on Jan. 6 to combat the pandemic. Kansas lawmakers allowed for certain retired nurses and medical students to step in where they can so nurses and doctors can deal with critical cases.

If the executive orders are not extended there is concern this would put hospitals and other critical care facilities in a tough spot due to staff shortages.

The declaration activates recovery portions of the Kansas Response Plan. It also allows the governor to halt any statutes, rules, or regulations that get in the way of “necessary action in coping with the disaster.” The governor’s two executive orders also utilize her power under the disaster declaration:

  • The governor’s first executive order, E.O. 22-01, “provides temporary relief from certain restrictions and requirements governing the provision of medical services.”
  • The second, E.O. 22-02, “relaxes or suspends licensure, certification and registration for persons and licensure of adult care homes.”

“Our community has to know that the choices they’re making day-to-day are impacting the care that we can provide in communities across Kansas,” Cindy Samuelson, a spokesperson for the Kansas Hospital Association, told KSNT. “We need to all do our part, so we can keep our hospitals open, so they can be there 24/7, 365 for any kind of need.”