Reorganization of the State Employee Health Plan; ERO 45

ERO 45 moves the State Employee Health Plan (SEHP) and the State Self Insurance Fund (SSIF) from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) to the Kansas Department of Administration (KDOA). The SEHP administers the Kansas employee health insurance benefit program and supports the Kansas Health Care Commission, which sets rates and programs for state employee health insurance benefits. The SSIF administers workers compensation claims for state employees when they are injured on the job working for the State.

ERO 45 establishes the Division of the State Employee Health Benefits Plan (Division) within the KDOA, transferring to KDOA all powers, duties, and functions of the KDHE staff currently administering the SEHP and SSIF.

The head of the Division established by ERO 45 is the Director of the State Employee Health Benefits Plan (Director), who is appointed by and serves at the pleasure of the Secretary of Administration and is an unclassified employee under the Kansas Civil Service Act. Section 1(a) of ERO 45 requires the Director’s salary to be approved by the Governor. All officers and employees involved with the administration and support of the SEHP and SSIF within the KDHE will transfer to the KDOA. State employee benefits, including retirement benefits, leave balances, and rights that had accrued, or vested, prior to the ERO’s effective date will transfer along with those officers and employees. Transferred employees who were classified will retain their classified status.

With respect to related fund and account balances, ERO 45 transfers all relevant funds within the State Treasury to the KDOA for the Division, to be used for the purpose for which the appropriation was originally made. The Division also succeeds to all relevant property, property rights, contracts, and records, and the Governor will be the final authority in resolving any conflict surrounding this succession. ERO 45 also states no lawsuits, proceedings, or criminal actions that have begun or have the potential to begin by or against any state agency or program are abated by the reorganization taking place under ERO 45.

ERO 45 also establishes the State Workplace Health and Safety Program within the KDOA’s SSIF program. The Secretary of Administration is to implement, and the Kansas Department of Labor Division of Industrial Health and Safety is to assist with, a program to include, but not be limited to, these activities: workplace health and safety hazard surveys in all state agencies, including on-site interviews with employees; workplace health and safety hazard prevention services, including inspection and consultation services; procedures for identifying and controlling workplace hazards; development and dissemination of health and safety informational materials, plans, rules, and work procedures; and training for supervisors and employees in healthful and safe work practices.

Article 1, § 6 of the Kansas Constitution provides that an ERO becomes effective on the July 1 following its transmittal to the Legislature unless, within 60 calendar days and before the adjournment of the Legislative Session, either the Senate or the House of Representatives adopts a resolution disapproving the ERO. ERO 45 was not considered prior to the March 30 deadline and is therefore adopted, going into effect on July 1, 2020.