There were over 2200 bills introduced into the 2015 legislative session. OAFP followed numerous bills but of utmost concern was the $611 million dollar budget shortfall.
Oklahoma Health Care Authority
The Oklahoma Health Care Authority had to reduce or eliminate programs that are considered to be optional. Several areas of health care were affected such as eliminating adult sleep studies and CPAP coverage, limits on high risk OB program. In an attempt to decrease allergy testing billings, the OHCA will put into place a requirement that a non-allergy boarded provider must have had a documented month-long course in allergy or immunology to bill for such services. The Academy sent a letter to the OHCA requesting a re-evaluation of the allergy testing policy.
The forecast for next years’ budget has not improved and it is anticipated that the shortage will be as large as it was this year and possibly as high as $1.2 billion, meaning the cuts will be deeper to services provided and will likely reduce physician reimbursement rates. The Governor is already anticipating a 10% cut across all state agencies for non-essential services and she is asking that the agencies have their plans for proposed cuts by December 1st, 2015. The Board of Equalization meets in late December and determines the formal revenue projection.
Prescription Monitoring Program
(HB 1948 by Representative Cox and Senator Griffin)
After 2 years of negotiations with physicians and the Office of the Governor, an agreement was made on a PMP bill. The new law requires that doctors or the medical staff must check the PMP for new patients. If current patients and 180 days have elapsed for refills of opiates, synthetic opiates, semisynthetic opiates, benzodiazepines or carisoprodol the doctor or staff must check the registry. To view the text of the legislation you can click on HB1948
(SB 250 by Senator Paddack and Representative Denney)
With the extremely high statistics for diabetes in Oklahoma, several legislators have created a Diabetes Coalition comprised of agency representatives and health advocates. The OAFP has been participating in the coalition since it began prior to this last session. Senator Susan Paddack, Representative Lee Denney and others introduced a bill that requires the Oklahoma Health Care Authority and the Oklahoma State Department of Health to collaborate and determine benchmarks and goals to reduce the high rate of diabetes. SB 250 passed and was signed by the Governor.
The Diabetes Coalition meets monthly providing a networking and educational forum. This year the Coalition has organized an event to address the “Diabetes State of Our State” during World Diabetes Day which is observed during the month of November. (reference World Diabetes Day flyer here) .
Tobacco Free Schools
Representative Lee Denney authored HB 1685 Tobacco Free Schools bill this year that passed and was signed by the Governor.
Texting While Driving
Senator Ervin Yen was able to successfully amend a bill that makes texting while driving a primary offense so drivers can be stopped for that reason. This goes into effect November of this year.
Other Ongoing Issues
Senator Yen is also interested in moving forward with legislation that would remove some of the “opt outs” for vaccination requirements. At this point in time, it looks to be an uphill battle.
Other issues of study and discussion include access to health care, the role of the Federally Qualified Health Centers and managing health care costs.
State Innovation Model (SIM)
The SIM grant was awarded to Oklahoma in December 2014 and is to begin in February 2015. The goal of the Oklahoma SIM is to provide state-based solutions to Oklahoma’s healthcare challenges. Oklahoma’s plan aims to improve health, provide better care and reduce health expenditures for more than 1.2 million Oklahomans. Working through the Oklahoma Health Improvement Plan (OHIP) Coalition, a public-private partnership consisting of abroad spectrum of stakeholders across the state, the OSIM will design a comprehensive model that focuses on the improvement of statewide health outcomes through value-based payment and healthcare delivery system innovation and redesign, while integrating evidence-based population and clinical interventions. Find out more: Oklahoma State Innovation Model