February 03, 2017
TOPEKA, Kan. — Leaders of The University of Kansas Health System argued strongly yesterday morning that the safety of its patients, staff and visitors would be best served by not allowing concealed weapons in its facilities.
Testifying before the Kansas House Federal and State Affairs Committee, leaders of the health system pointed out The University of Kansas Health System would be the only healthcare system in the Kansas City area to permit concealed weapons in its facility. The law would take effect July 1, 2017, unless the facilities undergo a massive multi-million dollar investment impacting patients, visitors and healthcare providers.
House Bill 2150 would remove the health system from the concealed weapons law.
"In 1998, the Kansas Legislature established the independent Hospital Authority with a mandate that we compete in the marketplace. Without the passage of HB 2150, The University of Kansas Health System will be at a competitive disadvantage and own a unique and frankly undesired distinction in the marketplace," says Bob Page, president and chief executive officer of The University of Kansas Health System.
Page cites poll numbers showing overwhelming public opposition to allowing concealed weapons in the hospital among citizens of five counties in Northeast Kansas. Page said the opposition to concealed weapons was regardless of political party, gender or age.
Page adds that the health system has successfully kept its buildings safe without concealed weapons and saw no reason why that should change.
Dr. Lee Norman, then the chief medical officer of the health system, testified that physicians are concerned about allowing guns in high stress medical situations.
The Chief of Police of the University of Kansas Medical Center and Chief Security Officer of The University of Kansas Health System, Rick Johnson, notes the facilities were protected by an increased number of commissioned police officers whose average response time was 90 seconds.
"Our doctors, nurses and other caregivers are concerned this will change the atmosphere which helped us provide great patient outcomes and high patient satisfaction," testified Tammy Peterman, executive vice president, chief operating officer and chief nursing officer of The University of Kansas Health System.
The next step is for the committee to consider the bill, including whether it should go to the House floor for a vote.