From the Desk of Senator Jessica Garvin: Health Care

by Sen. Jessica Garvin

Health care is one of the biggest policy issues lawmakers address every year at the Capitol.

As someone who has worked in a variety of health care fields, I often introduce and sponsor numerous bills on this topic each year. When filing legislation, I typically draw on my experience working in hospice and long-term care facilities in addition to my expertise managing health care businesses. I’ve served on the Senate Health and Human Services Committee and the Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services since I first took office. Now that bills have swapped legislative chambers at the Capitol, I’ve

passed a handful of House health care bills through Senate committees.

As a longtime advocate for Oklahoma’s seniors, I am sponsoring a consumer protection bill that aims to help families who are seeking an assisted living facility or nursing home for a loved one. House Bill 3919, which recently passed the Senate Business and Commerce Committee, aims to inform people upfront about the potential costs associated with using a third-party vendor to find a facility. This will ensure Oklahomans aren’t caught off guard by any charges from a referral agency.

I’m also the Senate sponsor on a bill that would expand existing law that allows prosecutors to charge someone for knowingly infecting another person with a disease like smallpox or syphilis. House Bill 3098 proposes adding several more sexually transmitted infections to the list. It is never acceptable to knowingly, intentionally or willfully infect another person with a disease. That’s why someone found guilty of such a crime can be charged with a felony under state law. The bill proposes adding chlamydia, hepatitis B and some other STIs to the list.

I’ve also been working to bring Oklahoma’s licensing requirements for social workers in line with the requirements in most other states. Oklahoma currently requires licensed social

workers to have two years of full-time work experience, which is about 4,000 hours. I’m sponsoring a bill that would lower that requirement to 3,000 hours of supervised work

experience, making it easier for much-needed social workers to get licensed. In recent weeks, I’ve had a chance to welcome to the Capitol several constituents who are participating in Langston University’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program. I’m glad I got to sit and talk to them about some of the legislation they’re following this year, and I wish them well as they continue their schooling.

Finally, I just wanted to say how grateful I was to participate in the Rural Electric Cooperative’s Fire Department Appreciation Banquet last week. Volunteer firefighters risk

their lives to keep residents in rural Oklahoma safe. I’m glad the Rural Electric Cooperative recognized 24 rural fire departments and awarded donations that will help these agencies purchase equipment and supplies.

To stay informed about what’s happening in the Senate, visit, along with my Facebook page @SenatorJessicaGarvin. You can also follow the main Senate Facebook @oksenate or the Senate GOP page @OKSenateGOP.

If you have any questions or concerns on legislative matters, please contact me at the Capitol by emailing me at, calling me at (405) 521-5522 or writing to Senator Jessica Garvin, State Capitol, 2300 N. Lincoln Blvd.

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