Legislative Victories – AONP

Legislative Victories

AONP Legislative Reports Success in Passage of HB2482

AONP supported the passage of House Bill 2482 that updates Oklahoma state law, creating a nurse licensure compact, to allow nurse practitioners to provide care across state lines. This adds no expense to a tight state budget and is a commonsense solution to create opportunities for nurse practitioners, with licenses in neighboring states, to practice in Oklahoma.

Allowing registered nurses to practice across state lines may prove critical to improving access to health care in rural Oklahoma and across the state,

Sean Voskuhl, director of AARP Oklahoma

Call to Action – VICTORY!

Great news! There will be no cuts to NP and PA reimbursements for this fiscal year. As you know, the State Plan Amendment Rate Committee (SPARC) public hearing was held at the Oklahoma Health Care Authority this morning. As the meeting began, the Committee Chair announced that the agenda item, regarding cuts to NPs and PAs, was removed from the agenda. OHCA will be able to fund the Medicaid service fee reimbursement for PAs and NPs at 100% for this fiscal year.

What caused the change? Three possibilities:

  • Perseverance. Your response to our Call to Action with phone calls and emails to the various entities. That never can be measured, but we do know it was effective, because they told us it was.
  • AONP’s attorney, Glen Coffee. Mr. Coffee attended this meeting, was armed and ready to battle on the fairness issue. It’s possible that Mr. Coffee’s connections as Legal Counsel for the State Chamber, former President Pro Tempore of the Senate, and former Secretary of State all aided us in the political arena as well.
  • Toni Pratt-Reid is a leader in this state on this issue. She was informed, carried the AONP on her back, and talked to everyone. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate her help and leadership. A big thank you to her.

So, the cuts have gone away. We can celebrate a victory. While the big issue, of the devastating affects to NPs practices from these cuts, was primary. The unfairness of no cuts to physicians was an important factor as well. In conclusion, we set an important precedent today. AONP will remain vigilant. We will keep a watchful eye towards this not happening to us again. We all learned a lot and we will use that knowledge going forward.

June 2015 update:

Thursday, June 18th, is a State Plan Amendment Rate Committee (SPARC) public hearing at the Oklahoma Health Care Authority from 10:00 am – 11:30 am. The agenda for this public hearing is listed on the OHCA website (click here). One of the rate cuts they will be recommending is again a cut to reimbursement for NPs and PAs. Instead of the original proposed rate cut of 15% (100% to 85%) of the physician fee schedule, they are now recommending a cut of 5% (from 100% to 95%) of the physician fee schedule. At the Medical Advisory Committee, on May 21st, the recommendation to OHCA was to make a smaller across-the-board rate cut to all providers, not just a rate cut to NPs and PAs. The SPARC public hearing is similar to the Medical Advisory Committee – where anyone can attend, put their name on the public comments list prior to the start of the meeting and make comments during the meeting. We need to make our voices heard.

Oklahoma Watch Article, by Scott Carter: Health Agency Backs Away From Payment Cuts

May 22, 2015 Update:

AONP members were notified and responded to our Call to Action by attending the, May 21st, OHCA – Medical Advisory Committee meeting regarding the proposed 15% medicaid free for service reimbursements to NPs. Many NPs and PAs attended and explained the devastating effects the proposed cuts would have on health care in Oklahoma. AONP provided OHCA alternate cost-saving methods for dealing with their budget shortfall.

The committee voted NOT to reduce NPs fee for service. The committee supported our recommendations of across-the-board reductions to the entire OHCA budget (approximately 4-5%). While this vote is a recommendation to OHCA – it was a victory. We made progress, but must continue our efforts on this issue.

May 1, 2015 Call To Action:

Nico Gomez, with the Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA), announced that the OHCA was going to make up budget reductions by cutting the fee for service Medicaid reimbursement for PAs and NPs by 15%. This is in addition to the provider rate cut enacted last year.

Please call Nico Gomez at the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, 405-522-7300, immediately and tell him this will be devastating to NPs across this state who are working to keep Oklahoma out of last place in health care outcomes. In addition, call the Governor’s office, 405-521-2342, and tell the hotline of your concerns and ask the Governor to intervene. Finally, call your legislator, and ask him/her to call Mr. Gomez and let him know our industry cannot stand these cuts. (Click here to look up your state legislator.)

Click here to download and view the OHCA fiscal breakdown.

News article, by Scott Carter, that explains the issues and effects of the OHCA proposed cuts: http://oklahomawatch.org/2015/05/12/health-providers-budget-squeeze-could-shutter-rural-clinics/