Although the 2016 Legislative session was dominated by budget issues and the revenue shortfall, there were several bills passed that impact the healthcare industry. Twelve of the key bills are summarized below.
HB 2482: Nurse Multi-State License
Effective: 11/01/2016 for 59 O.S. 567.7, 567.8
Passage of this bill made Oklahoma one of the first states to enact the enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC), joining 6 other states. It permits nurses to have one multi-state license, with the ability to practice in both their home state and other compact states. The enhanced NLC will come into effect the sooner of 26 states passing the enhanced NLC legislation or Dec. 31, 2018. The NLC enables nurses to provide telehealth nursing services to patients located across the country without having to obtain additional licenses. In the event of a disaster, nurses from multiple states can easily respond to supply vital services. The multi-state license would cost $150 with a renewal fee of $125 every two years. This bill also gives power to the Executive Director of the Board to suspend defaulted licensees of the peer assistance program without any order by the Board.
HB 2518: Parents' Bill of Rights - Minor Consent
Effective: 11/01/2016 for 25 O.S. 2004
This bill amends the Parents’ Bill of Rights by changing the phrase ‘legal guardian’ to ‘other adult authorized by law to consent on behalf of a minor.’ It also provides for exception of written consent for medical treatment of minors if an emergency exists and surgery is necessary.
HB 2547: Telemedicine
Effective: 11/01/2016 for 36 O.S. 6804
Repeals the informed consent provisions of telemedicine services under Oklahoma insurance statutes. Oklahoma is one of only 16 states that still require written informed consent from patients prior to treatment via telemedicine. Requiring detailed informed consent before using telemedicine to provide treatment often delays care in emergencies, such as treatment of strokes by telestroke programs. This bill removes that barrier.
HB 2616: Telecommunications and Universal Service Fund
Effective: 05/19/2016 for 17 O.S. 137.3, 139.101, 139.102, 139.109
This bill will impact the process for applying for funds through the Universal Service Fund which has been used by many rural providers to offset the costs associated with telecommunication service and equipment. HB 2616 modifies the procedure for eligible providers to seek and obtain funding and allows the OUSF administrator to issue a determination within 60 days of the receipt of a request. The bill also allows 15 days to file a request for reconsideration.
The bill changes the administration of the OUSF from a litigation-based system to an administrative process that attempts to create certainty and clarity for service bids sought by federally qualified health centers and hospitals. The measure updates the act to be technology neutral and removes outdated credit modes. Finally, it modifies definitions for administrative process, contributing provider, eligible provider, and adds a definition for eligible local exchange telecommunications service provider.
SB 791: Medical Liability Insurance Policies
Effective 11/01/2016 for 36 O.S. 3625
Modifies the applicability of retroactively annulled insurance contracts by excluding a claim made and reported from a liability insurance policy unless there is actual notice that a claim has or will be made.
SB 983: Health Information Technology - Sharing Health Information
Effective: 11/01/2016 for 62 O.S. 34.201
Creation of the Health Information Technology Advisory Board and establishes certain operating procedures. This appears to be a re-enactment of the Oklahoma Health Information Exchange Trust (OHIET) that was created for similar purposes and was terminated a few years ago.
SB 1148: M.D. and D.O. Licensure Board Requirements
Effective: 11/01/2016 for 59 O.S. 492, 622
Oklahoma is the first state to pass this type of legislation which has imposed onerous re-certification requirements on physicians, when board certification is supposed to be voluntary. It prohibits the requirement of “Maintenance of Certification (MOC)” as a condition of licensure, reimbursement, employment or admitting privileges at a hospital in Oklahoma, pursuant to the Oklahoma Allopathic Medical and Surgical Licensure and Supervision Act. It also prohibits an osteopathic physician from being required to secure an “Osteopathic Continuous Certification (OCC)” as a condition of licensure, reimbursement, employment or admitting privileges at a hospital in Oklahoma, pursuant to the Oklahoma Osteopathic Medicine Act.
SB 1150: Pharmacy
Effective: 11/01/2016 for 59 O.S. 353.1, 353.11, 353.13, 353.18, 353.24, 353.26, 353.29, 357, 360, 364, 366
This bill addresses “pick-up stations”. It amends certain language to make it clear that no intermediaries are able to request or distribute refills on behalf of an individual. There are reasonable exclusions for patient-specific filled prescriptions and their medical clinics; Prohibits any person, firm or business establishment from offering intermediary services to the public.
SB 1196: Consent for SANE exams
Effective: 05/16/2016 for 63 O.S. 2602
This bill enables minors, who are victims of sexual assault, to give consent for medical treatment.
SB 1360: Organ Donation
Effective: 11/01/2016 for 63 O.S. 2200.14A
This bill prevents organ procurement organizations from using ‘emotional abuse’ to coerce or manipulate patients, families, physicians or hospital staff in any aspect of the organ donation process.
SB 1515: Medicaid False Claims Act
Effective: 11/01/2016 for 63 O.S. 5053.1 through 5053.7
This bill defines the terms “claim” and “knowing”/”knowingly”. It increases the civil penalty for submission of a false claims to not less than $5,500.00 or more than $11,000.00 plus treble damages. It also revises the whistle-blower and retaliation sections.
SB 1607: University Hospitals Trust and OSU Medical Trust - Certain Exemptions from OMA and ORA
Effective: 6/6/2016 for 63 O.S. 3224 and 3290
This bill provides that if the University Hospitals Trust or the Oklahoma State University Medical Trust enter into a joint venture or acquires an interest in a not-for-profit entity, such entity will be exempt from the Oklahoma Open Meetings Act and the Oklahoma Open Records Act. n-profit joint venture that effectuates the administration of a hospital trust from the Oklahoma Open Meeting Act and the Oklahoma Open Records Act
If you have any questions about the impact of these bills on your organization, please do not hesitate to contact Cori Loomis at Cori@Christensenlawgroup.com.
About the Author
Cori H. Loomis, J.D. is an associate attorney at Christensen Law Group, PLLC. She is an expert in healthcare law, employment issues, and business transactions. You can read more about her and her legal experience here.