Weekly Legislative Update: March 20, 2020


MANY THANKS to those OSMA Members who continue to prove their dedication to promoting and supporting Oklahoma’s public health while we all face the COVID-19 pandemic. You are to be applauded!

The State Capitol and any official meetings regarding state legislative policy remains on shutdown. The State Senate announced they will remain closed through March 27. Although the House will be considered “open” next week, all business will be conducted remotely, and no Committee or Floor action is anticipated. As a point of information, the only Constitutional requirement placed upon the legislature is passing a budget. They maintain the option of foregoing any policy reform, passing a budget, and going home.

Addressing the many facets presented by the COVID-19 pandemic continues as the only issue on which to focus. The needs surrounding this health care crisis seems to change every moment. The major issue across the nation remains access to testing kits. The manufacturing of reagents is a top priority as states continue to lag woefully behind in their ability to provide tests and maintain any stockpile.

The OSMA has been diligent in our response. As we continue to combat this pandemic, the OSMA has been proactive in many efforts, some of which include:

  • Working with statewide media on interviews and stories. Among the topics are the need for increased testing; social distancing; personal hygiene, etc. which remain the front line for combating this virus.
  • Conducting several Facebook Live videos including Sec. of Health and Mental Health Jerome Loughridge; Department of Health State Epidemiologist Laurence Burnsed; and, Dr. Jim Kirk, Head of Infectious Disease at SSM St. Anthony Hospital. These are posted the OSMA website.
  • Conducting a March 18 Facebook Live interview with Governor Stitt on the OSMA Facebook Page
  • Requesting the Licensure Board to encourage newly retired physicians who have maintained their license and Continuing Medical Education (CME) to re-enter the workforce or volunteer their services
  • Posting on our website and social media a variety of continuously updates documents such as: Physician Guide to COVID-19; Criteria to Guide Evaluation; Information for Clinicians and Laboratories; CDC Updates; etc.
  • Working with the OSDH to develop physician protocol
  • Recruiting physicians to serve on the OSDH COVID-19 Hotline
  • Working with our partner health related associations in developing cohesive messaging
  • Working with OSDH to develop a joint social media campaign
  • Providing financial support, upon approval, for purchasing complete testing kits when available
  • Consideration of creating an Oklahoma Surgeon General (discussed with the Governor’s health care team)


Since the Capitol shutdown occurred immediately following the major deadline of bills passing out of their “House of Origin”, plus the fact that Spring Break was also scheduled, there was not of activity anticipated for this week. A limited number of bills received Committee Assignments, but no meetings transpired.

Medicaid Expansion

SB 1219 (McCortney/McEntire) – In the exclusive case of Oklahoma expanding Medicaid, this measure allows the Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA) to contract with commercial health insurers to create a health insurance “exchange”. This measure is designed to: facilitate the purchase of commercial health plans for those meeting the Medicaid Expansion population; seek federal matching funds; seek financial support for administrative expenses; and allow premium tax credits when purchasing coverage. (Title off; Passed Senate; to House) OSMA NEUTRAL

SB 1529 (David/Wallace) – Redirects TSET dollars for the purposes of providing funding to Medicaid Expansion. (Title off; Passed Senate; to House) OSMA OPPOSED

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. MD’s and DO’s MUST remain an essential part of that structure. Several “scope of practice” measures have been filed, including the following:

SB 801 (Rosino/McEntire) – Requires that nurse anesthetists administer anesthesia and certain controlled substances in collaboration with, not under the supervision of, a physician. OSMA helped negotiate “collaboration” definition language agreed upon by the Oklahoma Society of Anesthesiologists and the Oklahoma Association of Nurse Anesthetists. (Passed Senate with Title on; To House Rules) OSMA NEUTRAL

SB 1915 (David/Pfeiffer) – Allows Physician Assistants (PAs) to practice under a collaborative agreement with a physician rather than being supervised and shall allow for direct payment for services provided. This measure allows PAs to be considered primary care providers. (Title off; Passed Senate; to House); Companion bill: HB 1735 (Pfeiffer/David) (Title off; Passed House; to Senate) OSMA OPPOSES

HB 2194 (Randleman/Pemberton) – Expands the definition of “physician” to include psychologist, therapist or counsellor (Passed House; to Senate from 2019 Session and remains available for consideration but not anticipated to be heard). OSMA OPPOSES

SB 1823 (Stanley/Roe) – Provides for oversight and licensing of midwifery and establishes their scope of practice. (Passed Senate with Title on; to House Rules) OSMA SUPPORTS


SB 1892 (Rader/Mize) – Allows a tax credit for a medical school “preceptor” (uncompensated trainer) for allopathic; osteopathic; APRN and PA training programs. (Title off; Passed Senate; to House) OSMA SUPPORTS

SB 1525 (Pugh/Caldwell) – Allows Licensure Boards authority to conduct FBI background checks in order to comply with the state medical licensure compacts. (Passed Senate with Title on; to House Health Services & Long-Term Care); Companion Bill: HB 3877 (Caldwell/Pugh) (Passed House with Title on; to Senate) OSMA SUPPORTS

HB 1182 (Olsen/Daniels) – Provides that performing an abortion, a legally allowable procedure, for reasons other than saving the life of the mother shall be grounds for license revocation. (Passed House with Title on; to Senate Health & Human Services) OSMA OPPOSES

Insurance Reform

SB 1556 (Newhouse/McEntire) – Requires insurance companies to address the specific details of a physician appeal in any clean claim re-denial (rather than issue a generic re-denial) and provide specific telephone contact information to facilitate a telephone conference for further discussion of the claim. (Passed Senate with Title on; to House) OSMA SUPPORTS

SB 1718 (Montgomery/Echols) – Provides for mental health insurance coverage parity by mirroring current federal law. This would better allow Oklahoma enforcement to require mental health care to be covered at the same level as physical health care on plans authorized by the state. (Passed Senate with Title on; to House) OSMA SUPPORTS

HB 3483 (McEntire/McCortney) – Oklahoma Surprise Billing Protection Act: This measure provides standards and limits on surprise billings while creating a mediation process to best accommodate payment to out-of-network providers for patient services rendered during an in-network medical procedure. (Title off; Passed House; to Senate). OSMA SUPPORTS

HB 3388 (Sneed/David) – Oklahoma Out-of-Network Surprise Billing and Transparency Act: Provides parameters for determining payments for health care services provided by out-of-network providers through benchmarking as well as methods of mediation and arbitration. (Title off; Passed House; to Senate) OSMA SUPPORTS

HB 3029 (Bush/Pugh) – Oklahoma Health Care Cost Transparency Act: Requires a health care facility/provider to publicly disclose the cost for the most utilized procedures if purchased on a cash basis regardless of insurance coverage. (Passed House with Title on; to Senate) OSMA SUPPORTS

Public Health

SB 1423 (McCortney/Wallace) – Raises the age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21. This would mirror federal law and allow enforcement to be conducted at a state and local level. (Passed Senate with Title on; to House A&B) OSMA SUPPORTS

HB 3384 (Wright/Stanislawski) – Creates the Oklahoma Workplace Clean Air Act by prohibiting smoking in most enclosed public places. (Title off; Passed House; to Senate) OSMA SUPPORTS

HB 3823 (McCall/Hall) – Provides tax credit for MD’s or DO’s NEWLY LICENSED within the past two (2) years and serving in certain rural areas of the state with their primary address in the same county. (Passed House with Title on; to Senate Appropriations) OSMA SUPPORTS

SB 1290 (Weaver/Roe) – Medical Care Provider Protection Act – Expands unlawful assault and battery on medical care providers to include non-emergency personnel. (Passed Senate with Title on; to House A&B) OSMA SUPPORTS

HB 3028 (Bush/Montgomery) – Defines provisions for “harm-reduction services” designed to reduce the spread of infectious diseases related to intravenous drug use. (Title off; Passed House; to Senate) OSMA SUPPORTS

Vaccinations: Proper immunization is in the best interest of Oklahoma’s public health. OSMA has spearheaded the creation of an Oklahoma Vaccination Coalition consisting of nearly 30 medical; professional; social; and tribal organizations which support new draft Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) rules requiring personal and religious immunization exemptions be processed through the OSDH. OSMA SUPPORTS

General Government

HB 4064 (McCall/McCortney) – Consolidates the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services into the Health Care Authority, transferring related powers, duties, responsibilities, and authority. (Title off; Passed House; to Senate) OSMA OPPOSES

SB 1870 (Murdock/McEntire) – Dissolves Commissioner of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services. (Title off; Passed Senate; to House) OSMA OPPOSES

SB 1863 (Murdock/McEntire) – Removes professional qualifications of the Commissioner of Health. (Title off; Passed Senate; to House) OSMA OPPOSES


SB 1277 (Rader/Echols) – Allows members of the Opioids Overdose Facility Review Board to have access to opioid overdose data and corrects scrivener’s error from the 2019 Opioids Reform legislation. (Passed Senate with Title on; to House Health Services & Long-Term Care) OSMA SUPPORTS

SB 1278 (Rader/Echols) – Exempts hospice program practitioners from pill limit restrictions. (Passed Senate with Title on; to House Health Services & Long-Term Care) OSMA SUPPORTS

Legal Reform

SJR 40 (Daniels/Sanders) – Creates a State Question reinstituting a cap on non-economic damages. (Passed Senate with Title on; to House) OSMA SUPPORTS

SB 1728 (Bullard/Gann) – “Unborn Person Wrongful Death Act”: In cases of performing an abortion, this measure provides physician with liability if the pregnant woman is not properly screened or is coerced into having the procedure. (Passed Senate with Title on; to House Public Health) OSMA OPPOSES


SB 1276 (Thompson/Wallace) – Increases the percentage of funds available for physician/health care providers under the Physician Manpower Training Commission (PMTC) from 50% to 75%. Also revises the PMTC Board membership to three (3) MDs, three (3) DO’s and one (1) lay person. (Passed Senate with Title on; to House A&B) OSMA SUPPORTS

HB 3392 (McEntire/McCortney) – Includes “general surgery” to the definition of a “primary care physician” for the purposes of the Physician Manpower Training Commission (PMTC) Loan Repayment Program. (Passed House with Title on; to Senate Health & Human Services) OSMA SUPPORTS