Statement from Oklahoma State Medical Association President Diane Heaton, M.D., on Gov. Stitt’s Veto of SB458

On behalf of Oklahoma’s physicians, I'd like to express our gratitude to Gov. Stitt for his wise decision to veto SB 458. This bill would not have expanded health care options in rural areas or improved health outcomes in our state.

As we’ve seen in other states, expanding APRN scope does not increase the number of providers, but will instead decrease the team-based approach to medicine and replace physicians with providers who have approximately 1/20th of the training.

Oklahoma desperately needs more healthcare providers, including physicians. The most effective way to grow these numbers is through increased funding for education, residency, and training programs, as well as incentives for those who choose to practice in high-need areas.

Patient care and safety are and must remain the number one priority for all healthcare providers. APRNs chose to train as physician support staff, and their training was geared toward that role They are a valuable, necessary and critical part of the healthcare team, but should not be operating beyond their education and training.

As SB 458 returns to the legislature, we hope Oklahoma’s lawmakers will consider solutions that will truly benefit ALL of Oklahoma’s patients.