Proposal to oversee mental health medications agreed upon

KSN News (file)
KSN News

TOPEKA, Kansas – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment, the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services and mental health stakeholders have agreed upon a proposal to change the way Kansas oversees the prescribing of mental health medications.

The agreement was added as an amendment to HB 2149 by the Kansas Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee.

It includes the creation of a new nine-member Mental Health Medication Advisory Committee, to be appointed by the secretary of KDHE to review the use of drugs currently in use, as well as new behavioral health drugs as they come on the market.

“We are all working toward a common goal: providing safe access to mental health drugs for those who need them,” Acting KDHE Secretary Susan Mosier, MD, MBA, said. “The creation of the Mental Health Medication Advisory Committee brings the needed clinical expertise to craft the best mental health drug policies for our Medicaid beneficiaries.

Principles of the new regulatory plan include:

  • No requirements for prior authorization or other restrictions on medications used to treat mental illnesses may be imposed except medications subject to guidelines developed by the Drug Utilization Review Board based on the recommendations of the Mental Health Medication Advisory Committee;
  • The Drug Utilization Review Board shall seek the advice and counsel of the Mental Health Medication Advisory Committee in developing the guidelines; recommendations of the mental health medication advisory committee may be accepted in whole by the drug utilization review board and take effect immediately upon such approval; or
  • Recommendations of the mental health medication advisory committee may be rejected in whole by the Drug Utilization Review Board and be referred back to the mental health medication advisory committee for additional consideration.
  • For the medications used to treat mental illness that are available for use on the effective date of the statute, the Drug Utilization Review Board shall review all such medications within one year of the effective date of this statute. For medications used to treat mental illness that do not exist on the date of the effective date of this statute, but are later developed or believed to be effective in the treatment of mental illness, the drug utilization board shall review all such medications within six months of presentation to the drug utilization review board.
  • The Mental Health Medication Advisory Committee will include the secretary of health and environment, or his or her designee, who shall be the chair of the committee; two (2) licensed psychiatrists nominated by the Kansas psychiatric society, one (1) of which specializes in geriatric mental health; two (2) licensed psychiatrists nominated by the association of community mental health centers of Kansas, one (1) of which specializes in pediatric mental health; two (2) pharmacists nominated by the Kansas pharmacy association; one (1) licensed physician nominated by the Kansas medical society; and one (1) advance practice registered nurse engaged in mental health nominated by the Kansas state nurses association.
  • The Mental Health Medication Advisory Committee shall meet anytime upon the request of its chair, but not less frequently than once each quarter.

The agreement will become effective when the statute is signed into law.

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