Friday, June 6, 2008

Oklahoma Legislative Successes

In a year that took the term “do-nothing legislature” to new heights (or should that be new lows?), the American Heart Association actually had a very productive year. We made significant strides in a number of areas important to advancing the American Heart Association’s mission of building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Access to Care
• HB 2713 allows foster parents to participate in the Insure Oklahoma program.
• SB 1404 allows non-profits with fewer than 500 employees to participate in the Insure Oklahoma program.

Quality of Care
• HB 2713 allows the Oklahoma Health Care Authority to implement a pay-for-performance program that offers financial incentives to health care providers and patients for incorporating evidence-based medicine guidelines and information therapy prescriptions.

Chain of Survival
• HB 2643 requires CPR training as a precondition for licensure as a child care facility.
• SB 923 encourages the placement of AEDs in schools and exempts schools from civil liability related to the use of an AED.
• SB 1918 appropriates up to $2.5 million in tobacco tax revenue to be used to fund ambulance and EMS services in rural and other at-risk areas.

Obesity Prevention
• HB 3395 allows the Department of Education to contract with regional school health coordinators to help schools implement best practices related to health and wellness programs.
• SB519 creates a pilot student fitness testing program.
• SB 1186 requires an additional 60 minutes per week of physical activity in grades K-5.
• SB 1612 creates a grant program to fund evidence-based obesity prevention programs in afterschool settings.
• As one high-ranking Health Department official put it, “Considering the reluctance by legislators to pass school mandates etc. . . . you have really done well this year.

• SB 1420 requires the Department of Health to establish a statewide coordinated system of care for stroke.

Tobacco Control
• HB 3341 requires all cigarettes sold in the state to be self-extinguishing. Oklahoma is now the 23rd state in the nation to require fire-safe cigarettes.

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