February 28, 2021 We have now passed the first deadline of the legislative session – kind of. Because of the weather and delays on committee work, the Senate has given only the Appropriations and Budget Committee another week to hear bills but all other committees have finished work. Thus, a large number of bills have now gone dormant after not being heard in committee. The appropriations committee will finish its work by Thursday. We are also now in the thick of floor hearings. Measures must be heard on the floor by March 11 to pass over to the opposite houses for hearings. Several measures that we opposed are now dormant meaning we likely won’t see them this session unless language is inserted into another bill. Here are some of the highlights:
  • SB765 – would have prohibited employers from requiring vaccination as a condition of employment. A committee substitute would have exempted health care but it still created a protected class of employees in an at-will state. The measure was heard but laid over in committee after objections from several organizations. A few other measures of the same nature also were not heard in committee.
  • HB2580 – would have prohibited vaccine mandates that originated with the legislature and prohibit discrimination based upon immunization status.
  • HB1653 – would have required vaccine manufacturers to inform distributors, retailers and health care providers if vaccines contain certain substances.
The following measures made it through committee:
  • SB674 – This measure, which the OAFP supports, would require payment parity for telehealth for all providers.
  • HB2299 – would require any state entity that enters into contracts for the management of Medicaid patients to protect the supplemental payment programs and enhanced reimbursement payment programs payable to OSU Center for Health Sciences or the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and affiliated entities.
  • SB548 – Thank you to any of you who expressed concerns about this measure to your state senator. This measure was heard in committee but the title was taken off, which will slow the measure down some. Providers would not be able to hire a third party to collect medical debt unless they had given patients an estimate of the costs prior to the delivery of care.
  • HB2335 – would prohibits any vaccine mandates except those already listed in the education title of the state statutes and would prohibit discrimination and penalties against anyone who declines vaccination themselves or their children.
In other news, the state supreme court has asked the Oklahoma Health Care Authority to respond to the injunction to delay managed care implementation by March 14. Then the court will determine whether it has jurisdiction. In addition, Aetna has filed a protest stating that the RFP process was not handled properly. This promises to be a busy week! We will keep you posted.

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