State legislative session wrap-up

Posted on: 6/1/16

The Oklahoma Legislature ended the 55th state legislative session by passing a state budget in the last hours of Friday, May 27. The Legislature must adjourn no later than 5 p.m. During the House debate on the budget, the House’s failure to pass a $1.50 per pack increase in the cigarette tax factored heavily into the discussion. It is important to note that HB 3210, the cigarette tax increase bill, would have been dedicated to funding the Medicaid health care agencies, including the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, mental health and DHS, with a continuing revenue source. We will continue to fight for a cigarette tax increase in the future.

It is clear our community’s joint advocacy efforts, including our MakeOKBetter campaign, moved health care to the forefront of the state budget debate and resulted in an agreement avoiding imminent collapse of medical services in Oklahoma, but which does not solve the ongoing crisis.

OHA is concerned about inadequate funding for mental health services, which could result in the loss of psychiatric beds statewide. Further, this budget does not provide long-term dedicated resources to ensure protection for the most vulnerable Oklahomans, our sick and elderly.

The budget for the Oklahoma Health Care Authority will result in less than anticipated provider rate cuts this year for hospitals, nursing homes and other Medicaid providers. However, the proposed budget for Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services is $20 million short of what is needed for FY 2017. 

While it is good news that massive cuts may be avoided this year, we are also deeply concerned that this budget uses one-time money and does nothing to restore previous provider rate cuts or to avoid further cuts next year.

Status of legislation of interest to hospitals

HB 2267, SHOPP, Cox/Justice, extending the sunset date for the Supplemental Hospital Offset Payment Program (SHOPP) from Dec. 31, 2017, to Dec. 31, 2020, passed both houses and was sent to the governor for her signature on Thursday, May 26.

For information about the status of other bills of interest, click here. (Lynne White)

OHA Data Solutions 

Introducing a new initiative to improve the quality and timeliness of inpatient and outpatient encounter data available to hospitals in Oklahoma.

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