Governor Henry signed a measure last Thursday that clears the way for inpatient hospice care throughout the state, according to the bill’s author, Senator Daisy Lawler, D-Comanche.
Senate Bill 591 authorizes the Department of Health to create a licensing process and establishes set standards. The legislation also allows for regular inspections of inpatient hospice facilities.
“Our hospices do an outstanding job of providing quality support and care for their patients. This legislation will enable them to offer a new level of care through inpatient hospice facilities,” Senator Lawler explained.
Senator Lawler met with employees of hospices and Health Department officials from across Oklahoma during this year’s legislative session. Hospice staff and volunteers expressed a strong need for inpatient care.
Senator Lawler said the hospice inpatient facility would provide an effective alternative for those patients who can no longer remain in their own homes, patients whose pain can no longer be controlled in the home and patients in their final days of life.
“Every year, more families and individuals are turning to hospices to help them care for a loved one who does not want to spend their final days in a hospital bed and does not have a primary caregiver available,” Senator Lawler added.
Under SB 591, a hospice program may obtain or build a hospice facility through community assistance. The facility could provide up to 12 beds for patients and could offer around-the-clock care.
“It is a wonderful service for the patients and their families, and it makes sense in today’s changing health care environment because it saves money while meeting patients’ very human needs. I was privileged to introduce and pass such important legislation this session,” Senator Lawler said.
SB 591 takes effect on November 1 of this year.