Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

Legislative News

February 26, 2008

Paddack, Hilliard bills get green light

Two bills authored by Garvin County lawmakers passed with flying colors last week.

A bill aimed at providing critical assistance to Oklahomans in a mental crisis unanimously passed out of the Senate Appropriations Committee last Wednesday while in the House lawmakers approved a measure by Rep. Wes Hilliard that would ease auditing practices for pharmacies.

Senate Bill 1422 directs the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services to develop and implement a mental health first aid pilot program.

The bill’s author, Senator Susan Paddack, a Democrat from Ada, said the purpose of the program is provide non-mental health professionals the tools and the training to assist an individual in a mental health crisis situation until professional help arrives.

“First and foremost, this is a public health matter that must be addressed and it really is an innovative idea,” Paddack said. “The long-term benefit of this bill is helping Oklahomans better understand mental illnesses and what individuals and families experience every day when battling mental illness.”

Under Senate Bill 1422, the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services will implement a training curriculum for the program and issue certificates in mental health first aid to individuals who complete the training.

Paddack said Oklahoma would be one of the first states in the nation to offer basic awareness and first aid training for a mental crisis situation.

A bill to ease the burden on pharmacies and allow them to spend more time focusing on patient’s health and less time on paperwork passed the full House last week.

House Bill 2490, by state Rep. Wes Hilliard, creates the "Pharmacy Audit Integrity Act," which standardizes the audit process and provides more regulation of the contractual relationships between pharmacy benefit management (PBMs) companies and pharmacies.

The bill requires PBMs to provide written notice before an on-site pharmacy audit, mandates that the audit not interfere with the pharmacies’ health care services and bans audits from being performed during the first week of each month when patient volume is the highest.

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