Legislature in full swing – Call to action on HB 1841

Posted on: 2/22/17


The Legislature is now in the third week of session. Committee hearings have been held related to many of the more than 2,200 bills and resolutions introduced. The deadline for hearing bills in committee is March 2 for the chamber in which the bill was introduced.

On Tuesday, Feb. 21, the State declared a revenue failure after receiving a shortfall in collections of $34.6 million for the current fiscal year. The revenue failure reflects an actual revenue shortfall of 0.7 percent of last year’s estimate and will require state agencies to adjust their budgets accordingly. For more on the revenue failure, click here.

An editorial by Rep. Leslie Osborn appeared in today’s Oklahoman calling for bold leadership to resolve the state’s budget issues. To view the editorial, click here.

Call to action on HB 1841

OHA is urging the Legislature to pass a $1.50 increase in the cigarette tax. If the measure does not pass, Medicaid payment rates will be cut by a minimum of 7.3 percent. The Health Care Authority needs $41.4 million to cover the decrease in the federal matching rate (FMAP), and $16.7 million to cover utilization increases. A 1 percent Medicaid rate cut is a loss of $8 million (state).

Funding for the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services is also included in HB 1841. The FY2017 cut to ODMHSAS appropriations forced cuts to behavioral health provider rates resulting in more than $70 million of lost provider reimbursement ($27.4 million state appropriations and $42.7 million in lost federal matching dollars); this included approximately $24.8 million in lost revenue to rural Oklahoma communities.

For more information on HB 1841, click here. To view the HB 1841 bill analysis, click here.

A Tulsa World editorial praised the House Appropriations and Budget Committee for passing HB 1841, calling it “morally courageous.” To view the editorial, click here.

OHA has a number of resources related to the cigarette tax on its website at www.okoha.com/cigarettetax.

Status of legislation opposed by OHA


Bills defeated or laid over in committee: OHA and our partners defeated SB 329, Marlatt/Smalley, that mandates the offering of HMO plans with the same actuarial value as the states’ self-funded HealthChoice High Option PPO plan and prohibits risk adjusting premium payments to commercial HMOs, in Senate committee; the House version HB 1630, Rogers, was laid over in the House committee after OHA members and others contacted House members in opposition to the bill. The bills were requested by Global Health. To view an editorial on the Global Health bills by Preston Doerflinger that appeared in the Tulsa World, go to http://bit.ly/2m89VqP.

Bills opposed by OHA that passed committee: SB 518, Marlatt/Smalley, requires HMOs to compensate a provider for patient screening, evaluation, and examination services if the compensation is based at 130 percent of the Medicare payment rate for the same or similar services in the same geographic area. SB 518 passed the Senate committee after the author agreed to strike the bill’s title; HB 1712, Moore, repeals the 16 state mandated health benefits such as breast cancer screening and diabetes treatment; SB 478, Brown, allows the insurance commissioner to negotiate one or more compacts with other states to allow insurers to sell across state lines; SB 782, Scott, requires licensure of radiology technologists; and, SB 726, Griffin, Tele Doc, allows a valid physician-patient relationship to be established by a physician with a patient located in Oklahoma via telemedicine through all electronic communications, including phone.

Gun bills: SB 158, Shaw, prohibits a physician from inquiring about possession or ownership of firearms and establishes penalties for physicians.

Billing bills: HB 1714, Moore, requires each hospital to provide a medical good-faith estimate to each patient and requires the estimate be in a form as provided in the bill.

Bills supported by OHA: HB1209, Griffith, allows the Oklahoma Hospital Advisory Council to review and approve in its advisory capacity proposed certifications for professions that are employed in hospital settings; HB 1580, Caldwell, and SB 716, Yen, address telemedicine parity, meaning reimbursement for health care services in telemedicine must be comparable to services performed in person by the provider; HB 1841, Osborn and David, increases the tax on cigarettes by $1.50 per pack with funding dedicated to health care. HB 1841 passed House Appropriations on Feb. 13, with a vote of 17 yes and 10 no votes; HB 1845, McCall and Schulz, establishes Real ID compliant driver licenses and eliminates the prohibition on the Real ID Act implementation and compliance. HB 1845 passed the House floor Feb. 16, with 78 yes votes and 18 no votes. HB 1845 is on the agenda for the Senate Appropriations Committee today; HB 2301, McCall and Simpson, exempts the first $25,000 in compensation directly related to the practice of medicine or osteopathic medicine from taxable income for a qualifying doctor in a rural area of the state. Pending House floor vote.

Bills of concern to OHA: SB 726, Griffin, allows a valid physician-patient relationship to be established by a physician with a patient located in Oklahoma via telemedicine, a process by which patient care, treatment or service are provided through telephone. Title was stricken on SB 726 in Senate Health and Human Services on Feb. 20, with 11 yes and 0 no votes.

For a listing of bills OHA is following, click here

OHA Partners with Healthcare Staffing Services 


Healthcare Staffing Services was developed as a collaborative effort among multiple state hospital associations to meet the temporary staffing needs of member hospitals and health systems.

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