Governor Signs Bill Addressing Use of Antipsychotic Drugs in Care Centers

Mike Seals - April 20, 2021 10:00 am

OKLAHOMA CITY – The governor on Monday signed into law a bill that addressed the use of antipsychotic medication for residents of assisted-living facilities or long-term care centers.

House Bill 1877, by House Majority Caucus Whip Tammy West, R-Oklahoma City, requires quarterly monitoring for adverse effects of such drugs, and requires the facilities to inform the residents or their representative of their condition. It also requires additional staff training on the side effects of antipsychotic use.

“Residents in our long-term or assisted-living facilities are too often prescribed antipsychotic drugs with sometimes devastating effects,” West said. “This law will protect these residents by helping to better monitor for adverse effects and ensuring the families of residents remain fully informed of the treatments being utilized.”

The legislation was authored in the Senate by Sen. Bill Coleman, R-Ponca City.

“We must do all we can to slow the overprescribing of antipsychotic drugs to our senior citizens. It is extremely dangerous and can lead to accelerated cognitive decline, stroke and even death. Our seniors deserve better,” Coleman said. “Without these men and women, Oklahoma wouldn’t be what it is today. We owe it to them and their families to ensure they have the greatest care, regardless of the type of facility they live in.”

West passed legislation two years ago addressing this issue in nursing homes. She said the state has seen a significant decrease in the misuse of antipsychotic drugs in those facilities since the bill became law.

HB 1877 is supported by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) Oklahoma, Oklahoma Assisted Living Association (OKALA), Alzheimer’s Association of Oklahoma, LeadingAge Oklahoma, Oklahoma Aging Partnership, Oklahoma Silver Haired Legislature and the State Long-term Care Ombudsman.

Joe Ann Vermillion, AARP Oklahoma State President, issued the following statement in support of the measure.

“Too many Oklahomans living in long-term care settings have been subjected to the deliberate misuse of antipsychotics. We appreciate Representative West and Senator Coleman for carrying this legislation and Governor Stitt for signing it. This important reform will help protect and improve the lives of some of Oklahoma’s most frail and vulnerable.”

 

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