Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105
For Immediate Release: May 15, 2014
Sen. Brian Crain
Caregiver bill becomes law
A new law to help keep caregivers better informed
about important medical information could help reduce hospital
readmissions. Senate Bill 1536, by Sen. Brian
Crain, R-Tulsa, and Rep. Harold Wright, R-Weatherford, which
was approved by the governor, allows patients to designate a
caregiver upon formal admission. The hospital must also notify the
designated caregiver of the patient’s discharge and consult with the
caregiver about aftercare.
“Hospitals are used to dealing with a spouse or family member,
but there are many people in Oklahoma that have a friend or neighbor who acts as
their caregiver. Making sure caregivers are informed about discharge and
aftercare instructions is extremely important,” said Crain, chair of the Senate
Health and Human Services Committee. “Keeping caregivers informed about a
patient’s medical situation and instructions will make a big difference in
helping the patient recuperate without ending up back in the hospital just days
or weeks later.”
A reduction in preventable readmissions could save the state
millions of dollars each year. According to the Oklahoma Health Care Authority,
in fiscal year 2013 the agency spent almost $63 million for hospital
readmissions with 30 days of discharge for Medicaid patients.
“This important new law will ensure that patients are properly
cared for after they are released from a hospital,” Wright said. “It is critical
that caregivers are given the appropriate information to ensure optimal
Several organizations supported the measure, including AARP, the
American Cancer Society, the Alzheimer’s Association, and other aging advocacy
organizations, including Oklahoma’s Silver Haired Legislature.
AARP Oklahoma State President Marjorie Lyons said the caregiver
bill had been the association's top legislative priority this session, and
thanked Fallin, Crain and Wright for their support.
“This new law is the first of its kind in the nation. It will
help improve post-discharge outcomes by improving coordination with caregivers,
whether it’s family or someone else. This will reduce costly hospital
readmissions and enable thousands of Oklahomans to continue living independently
in their own homes,” Lyons said. “During this process, AARP heard from thousands
of family caregivers across Oklahoma who are struggling to care for a loved one.
This will help give family caregivers in Oklahoma crucial support.”
Oklahoma’s new caregiver law takes effect November 1, 2014. For
more information, contact Sen. Brian Crain at 405-521-5620.
For more information, contact:
Sen. Crain: (405) 521-5620