Oklahoma Aging Partnership
Oklahoma Alliance on Aging
Oklahoma Silver Haired Legislature Alumni Association
Oklahoma State Council on Aging
2021 Letter to Legislators
March 03, 2021
The Oklahoma Aging Partnership (OAP) is a non-partisan coalition comprised of the Oklahoma Alliance on Aging, the Oklahoma Silver-Haired Legislature Alumni Association and the Oklahoma State Council on Aging. Collectively, the OAP has identified key pieces of proposed legislation that will positively or negatively impact older Oklahomans. The collective decision to support or oppose legislation was made based on the current version of the bills as of March 2, 2021. We will appreciate your support of the Aging Partnership’s positions and welcome your questions.
House Bill 1019 (Rep. Rande Worthen) – Requires insurance carriers to cap copayments for a 30-day supply of any type of insulin at an amount not to exceed $100, regardless of the amount or type of insulin needed. The bill also authorizes insurance carriers to reduce copayment amounts below the cap. The measure requires the Insurance Commissioner to enforce compliance of the cap on copayments and authorizes the Commissioner to promulgate rules, as necessary.
House Bill 1794 (Rep. Nicole Miller and Sen. Adam Pugh) – Directs that any long-term care provider or retirement community that advertises care or treatment of people with Alzheimer’s Disease or other forms of Dementia to disclose the nature of that care on a Disclosure Form required by the State Department of Health. The bill’s current language is widely supported by aging advocates and is a priority bill for the Oklahoma Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association and the OAP.
House Bill 1845 (Rep. Andy Fugate and Sen. J.A. Dossett) – Requires a vehicle’s headlamps to be on at all times during inclement weather, This bill continues to be a priority issue of the Oklahoma Silver-Haired Legislature and is strongly supported by the OAP. Older Oklahomans need this extra safety measure.
House Bill 1877 (Rep. Tammy West and Sen. Bill Coleman) – Modifies the criteria for use of an anti-psychotic drug for
A Resident of an Assisted Living facility or a nursing facility. This bill builds on law passed in 2019.
House Bill 2544 (Rep. Preston Stinson) – Modifies the crimes for which persons shall be required to serve not less than85% of their sentence to include abuse of any vulnerable adult, not just those who are nursing home facility residents.
House Bill 2649 (Rep. Jon Echols and Sen. Tom Dugger) – Creates the OK Durable Medical Equipment Licensing Act which requires providers of durable medical equipment to be licensed.
HB 2644 (Rep. Jon Echols) – Would allow Virtual meetings of public bodies until March 31, 2024. This bill is supportive of Older Oklahomans who serve on public bodies, even when there is not a public health emergency.
Senate Bill 58 (Sen. Dave Rader and Rep. Jon Echols) – Exempts practitioners from the electronic prescription
requirements when ordering a controlled, dangerous substance to be administered through the hospice program.
Senate Bill 198 (Rep. Paul Rosino and Rep. Mark Lawson) – Relates to determining the “least restrictive alternative”in the OK Guardianship and Conservatorship Act, in order that fewer rights of the person are restricted than would be restricted if a guardian or conservator were appointed for the person.
Senate Bill 388 (Sen. Paul Rosino and Rep. Josh West) – Adds Advanced Practice Registered Nurse to the practitioners who can administer care in home settings.
Senate Bill 42 (Sen. Dave Rader and Rep. Sheila Dills) – This bill expands exemptions in the Home Care Act to allow more home care agency staff to work without Oklahoma certification/licensure. Such an exemption would place more frail, vulnerable Older Oklahomans at risk of neglect and other harm from loosely supervised personnel sent to their homes to provide “care”. Training and certification of staff who work in elders’ homes is vital for the protection of these vulnerable Oklahomans.
Senate Bill 689 (Sen. Adam Pugh) – Modifies membership of the Advisory Committee on Medical Care for Public Assistance Recipients (MAC) at the Oklahoma Health Care Authority. This bill deletes Consumer representation from organizations for the Elderly, Children, persons with Developmental Disabilities, specific others, and one of the two Nursing Home associations (profit or non-profit?) from membership. The OAP strongly opposes this bill.
Senate Bill 820 (Sen. Adam Pugh and Rep. Marcus McEntire) – This bill “declassifies” multiple State Department of Health positions, including those personnel who are categorized as “Investigators”. The Oklahoma Aging Partnership organizations oppose the removal from Classified (protected) service of ANY State employee who investigates complaints or crimes, inspects facilities, agencies or businesses that are licensed by the State, or advocates for the rights of vulnerable Oklahomans of any type. Such positions in any State Agency should not be subject to removal of an incumbent for political reasons, or due to political pressure, or for any reason other than Cause. The Merit System provides protections for State Employees whose jobs involve protection of Oklahoma Citizens. Those Employee Protections should not be removed. OAP also opposes similar bills, including Senate Bills 232 and 876. Those of us who lived under a “patronage” system in the past know we should not return to those times.
Senate Bill 913 (Sen. Julie Daniels and Rep. Tom Gann) – Provides for the Legislature to repeal an agency rule by joint resolutions and removes the Governor’s authority to repeal agency rules by declaration. The measure also directs the President Pro Tempore and Speaker of the House to establish a Joint Committee on Administrative Rules. The Joint Committee shall consider proposed rules, amending rules, and repeal requests submitted by an agency. Those rules approved by the Committee shall be presented to the Legislature for final approval for repeal. Emergency rules must be sent to the Chairs of the Joint Committee in addition to the other recipients outlined in current law. The measure creates a new section of law in the Act by providing for the expedited repeal of rules beginning September 1, 2021.
BILLS OF CONCERN:
House Bill 1677 (Rep. Marilyn Stark and Sen. Darrell Weaver) and
House Bill 2566 (Rep. Chad Caldwell and Sen. Greg McCortney)
These bills both attempt to address the important issue of social isolation that many Residents of Long-Term Care Facilities have experienced during the past year, due to COVID-19 restrictions on visitation. They both attempt to address access issues for family and friends of Residents and contract services hired to support Residents in such facilities. But each bill raises concerns related to “assigning” care-giving responsibilities to “compassionate caregivers” without reaffirming the facility’s responsibility to provide staff adequate in training and numbers to meet the needs of ALL the Residents. In addition, both bills allow a Resident’s designated representative to prohibit the Resident to receive a visitor even though such a restriction of visitation can only be made by the Resident, herself, or by a Judge in a guardianship, under Oklahoma law. Restriction of visitors by family members can lead to extreme emotional suffering for Residents, including in situations involving stepfamilies and family feuds. Please do not permit that language to remain in these bills.