Oklahoma City, OK 73105
For Immediate Release: February 20, 2013
Sen. Frank Simpson
Quality Workforce for Oklahoma’s Heroes Act approved
in Senate committee
In order to ensure Oklahoma’s veterans are receiving
the best possible care at state veterans centers, Sen. Frank
Simpson filed Senate Bill 228 this year. The bill, which creates
the Quality Workforce for Oklahoma’s Heroes Act, received
unanimous approval from the Senate Appropriations Committee Wednesday.
SB 228 authorizes the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs (ODVA)
to establish education and training programs for positions critical
to the quality care of veterans residing within Department institutions.
“One of the main complaints we heard during our interim study
over the state’s veterans centers was that the staff didn’t
have the education and training necessary to meet the needs of the
residents,” said Simpson, R-Springer. “This Act will
help ensure that veteran center employees are the most highly qualified
health care professionals possible. Our veterans deserve the best,
and that’s what they’re going to get.”
Under the Act, ODVA will be allowed to contract with accredited
institutions to get the training and education. Department funds
will be used to pay salaries or tuition and subsistence for the
employees in these training programs.
Those employees who achieve a “meets” or “exceeds”
standards on their performance evaluation and meet the standards
as established by ODVA will be eligible for additional education
Employees who participate in the education and training program
will pay for their education and training by agreeing to continue
to work for the Department for a set period of time based on the
program in which the employee participated. Beginning the day after
their graduation, employees will get $13 per day towards their loan
repayment. Anyone who violates the agreement, except those who volunteer
or are drafted into active military service, could be sued by the
Department in order to obtain any funds not paid back plus interest
at the statutory rate, costs, and reasonable attorney fees.
SB 228 also authorizes ODVA to pay fees for employees to maintain
licenses and certifications required to provide quality care and
maintain accreditation at Department institutions. Like the education
and training loan repayment, the Department may require employees
to pay back the cost of fees.
The measure now goes before the full Senate.
For more information contact:
Sen. Simpson: (405) 521-5607