Law helping lower medical costs

In April 2016, Gov. Mary Fallin signed Senate Bill 1148 into law and Oklahoma into history as the first state to pass legislation intended to put an end to counterproductive mandates that drive up the cost of medical care and limit patient choice.

Twenty-two states have now introduced bills inspired by this legislation sponsored by Rep. Mike Ritze, a physician representing Oklahoma District 80.

“It is encouraging to see a rapidly growing list of states following Oklahoma’s lead in reducing the cost of care for patients and at the same time freeing physicians from red tape,” said Ritze, R-Broken Arrow. “We are not only lowering costs, but perhaps more importantly allowing doctors more facetime with their patients. Quality of care is going to increase.”

SB1148 and the bills in the 22 other states seek to reform a physician specialty board recertification process known as “maintenance of certification” or MOC.  Over the last decade, MOC has become increasingly irrelevant, onerous, expensive, and detrimental to patient care according to numerous physician surveys.  Research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine estimates that MOC costs will balloon to $5.7 billion over 10 years and physicians will spend 33 million hours on MOC activities away from patient care.

“Unfortunately the special interests that profit from MOC requirements, at the expense of patients and doctors, are increasing their opposition to these important reforms,” Ritze said.

“The ‘not-for-profit’ organizations selling MOC have amassed over $1 Billion in assets; they have a lot to lose if more bills like SB 1148 are enacted,” said Charles Kroll, CPA and healthcare forensic accountant. “MOC is helping pay for over $50 million dollars in annual executive compensation and retirement benefits.”

“We are not going to stop working to help Oklahoma patients and physicians,” Ritze said. “Next year, we will be back with legislation to improve on SB1148 and close loopholes some have found to continue imposing MOC on the state’s medical workforce to the detriment of patient care.”