Talley’s Palliative Care Bill Passes House

Beverly Cantrell - March 10, 2022 7:06 pm

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma House of Representatives approved legislation to help patients receive necessary pain management.

House Bill 3073 by Rep. John Talley, R-Stillwater, defines palliative care in statute so eligible patients can continue to access necessary treatment. It also adds an exemption regarding prescriptions for patients with sickle cell disease.

While hospice is designed for a patient with a life expectancy of less than 6 months and is not called for until curative treatments have been abandoned, palliative care allows the patient to continue seeking a cure for their disease while still having their unique needs met.

“The main focus of palliative care is ensuring quality of life and patient autonomy at every stage of a serious illness,” Talley said. “Although hospice and palliative care serve different populations, they both share the ultimate goal of effective symptom management through holistic and comprehensive care.”

The bill also adds an exemption from overly burdensome requirements for the management of pain resulting from sickle cell disease, which causes red blood cells to become misshapen and break down and result in infections, pain and fatigue. 

During floor questions, Talley reiterated that the bill protects doctors as well as patients. Restrictions previously passed by the Legislature made it difficult for patients to receive the level of pain management they need because doctors are reluctant to prescribe medications for fear of running afoul of the law.

Talley said sickle cell disease has always been included in most other states’ legal code and in the list of exemptions by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Talley began pursuing this legislation after hosting an interim study over pain management in Nov. 2021 following a request from a constituent.

HB3073 passed the House 69-16 and now moves to the Senate, where it is carried by Sen. Dave Rader, R-Tulsa. The bill has an emergency, so it would go into effect immediately upon being signed into law.

Rep. John Talley presents House Bill 3073 on the floor of the Oklahoma House of Representatives.

 

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