Weekly Legislative Update: May 31, 2019


The deadline for gubernatorial vetoes has passed and all the measures in which OSMA was involved have reached their conclusion for this year. Although legislative work ended last week, the 2019 Session of the 57th Oklahoma Legislature officially adjourns on Friday, May 31 at 5:00p. The Oklahoma State Medical Association wishes to THANK ALL OUR MEMBERS for your involvement and leadership throughout this challenging and demanding session. The House of Medicine faced many difficult obstacles this year and the session overall went very well. YOUR OSMA makes a difference at the State Capitol!!!

The RECORD-BREAKING BUDGET AGREEMENT HAS BEEN SIGNED INTO LAW. Revenue raising measures passed last session combined with general revenue increases due to economic growth paved the way for the legislative leadership and the Governor to negotiate the largest budget in state history…$8.3 billion ($200M of which goes to Rainy-Day Fund: Oklahoma’s “Savings Account”).

The following highlights those appropriations which directly affect healthcare and are all SUPPORTED by OSMA:

  • $62.8 million for Graduate Medical Education (GME) funding
  • $105 million to increase provider rates for physicians, hospitals and nursing homes (this represents a 5% provider rate increase across the board to be effective no earlier than October 1, 2019)
  • $29 million saved to a new preservation fund to maintain Medicaid provider rates when the Federal Medical Assistance Percentages (FMAP) 3-year rolling average results in a rate decline
  • $10 million to decrease the Developmental Disability Services wait list and increase provider rates
  • $4.6 million to increase immunizations and provide staffing to county health departments throughout the state
  • Additional $4 million to the Physician Manpower Training Commission (PMTC)

Other budget highlights include: Teacher pay raise; funding for the “Reading Sufficiency Act”; state employee pay raise; funding the Department of Transportation’s eight-year plan; and, increased funding for “Smart on Crime” and “Women in Recovery” programs.

Here are some of the other issues which are important to the House of Medicine:

SB 848  (Rader/Echols) – There continues to be misunderstanding regarding the intent of the language housed within last year’s “Pill Limit” bill, SB 1446. The intention was to address initial prescriptions dealing with acute pain. SB 848 clarifies language and also incorporates Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics Emergency Rules passed last year which confirm the ability of a physician to write a second 7-day script at the same time as the initial script is written. Attorney General Mike Hunter and OBNDD worked closely with OSMA and other interested parties on language addressing this issue. (PASSED Senate 45-0; PASSED House 88-0; SIGNED BY GOVERNOROSMA SUPPORTS

HB 2368  (Kannady/Thompson) – Provides for the re-creation of the Commission on Opioid Abuse, to exist until July 1, 2023. (PASSED Senate 43-1; PASSED House 91-3; SIGNED BY GOVERNOROSMA SUPPORTS

SB 1078 (Thompson/Wallace) – Allows up to a $25,000 tax credit for an MD or DO who has graduated from an Oklahoma college of medicine and who serves in any qualifying rural areas. These areas are defined as a county with a population of less than 36,000 and any municipality not exceeding a population of 25,000. (PASSED Senate JCAB 10-8; Carry over – Remains the “property of the Senate” to be considered in 2020) OSMA SUPPORTS

HB 2351  (Caldwell, C./McCortney) – Provides for Oklahoma’s participation in the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact allowing for an expedited pathway to licensure for qualified physicians who wish to practice in multiple states. (PASSED House 97-0; PASSED Senate 43-0; SIGNED BY GOVERNOROSMA SUPPORTS

HB 1439  (Gann/Smalley) – Amended to provide a sunset clause extension of the Oklahoma State Medical Licensure Board to July 1, 2024 and also adds two additional “lay persons” (four total) to the Board as appointed by the Governor. The Medical Licensure Board will now be comprised of eleven (11) total members. (PASSED Senate 43-2; PASSED House 89-0; SIGNED BY GOVERNOROSMA SUPPORTS Extension of Sunset Clause

HB 1445  (Gann/Smalley) – Extends the sunset clause of the State Board of Osteopathic Examiners to July 1, 2024. (PASSED House 85-0; PASSED Senate 42-3; SIGNED BY GOVERNOROSMA SUPPORTS

HB 2339  (S. Roberts/Standridge) – Provides students cannot receive vaccines on school grounds or by a mobile vaccination without prior authorization from parent or legal guardian for each vaccine given. NOTE: Current law already requires parental consent before medications can be administered at schools. This bill is unclear as to whether each vaccine (or group of vaccines such as MMR) requires a separate consent form which could negatively impact immunization rates. At the very least, the measure is unnecessary. Vaccination legislation should be designed to be proactive in protecting public health. (PASSED Senate Floor 42-0; PASSED House 57-34; SIGNED BY GOVERNOROSMA OPPOSES

SB 1044  (Thompson/Wallace) – Five-percent (5%) Medicaid reimbursement rate increase after approval from the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) and no earlier than October 1, 2019. PASSED Senate 45-1; PASSED House 92-0; SIGNED BY GOVERNOROSMA SUPPORTS

SB 508 (Newhouse/McEntire) – Requires insurance companies that have received an appeal of a denied claim by a healthcare provider to furnish written details of the reason for claim denial. (PASSED Senate Floor 45-0; PASSED House Floor 94-0; Sent to Conference Committee; will carry over to next year) OSMA SUPPORTS

SB 509  (Rader/Munson) – Provides for guidelines and requirements on insurers offering “step therapy” protocols for pharmaceuticals, requiring such therapy protocols to be based on clinical practice guidelines. (PASSED Senate 43-0; PASSED House 94-0; SIGNED BY GOVERNOROSMA SUPPORTED

HB 1927 (Roe/Weaver) – Expands unlawful assault and battery on medical care providers to include non-emergency personnel (PASSED House 85-8; PASSED Senate Floor 43-0; Sent to Conference Committee; will carry over to next year) OSMA SUPPORTS

SB 614  (Daniels/Lepak) – Mandates facilities providing medication abortions must provide signage claiming that such procedures can be reversed in certain circumstances. Evidence surrounding the medical abortion “reversal” treatment information does not meet clinical standards and should not be mandated upon the medical community. (PASSED Senate 39-8; PASSED House 74-24; SIGNED BY GOVERNOROSMA OPPOSES

Scope of Practice: The delivery of health care is a TEAM EFFORT! When determining diagnosis and treatment, physicians have the highest level of training and experience to lead that team. MDs and DOs must remain at the helm of that structure. The OSMA lobby team remains diligent in our efforts to defeat “scope of practice” measures attempting to remove physicians from leading the quality health care team Oklahoman’s deserve. We’ve defeated or stalled several “scope” measures during this year’s session including: SB 801/SB 890 (CRNA); SB 839 (APRN); HB 2194 (Psychologists defined as “physicians”); HB 2041 (Radiologist Technicians); SB 497 (Pharmacists considered equal with physicians).