Monday, March 12, 2012

House Votes to Encourage Charitable Clinics

OKLAHOMA CITY – Legislation approved by the Oklahoma House of Representatives would encourage greater access to health care in the form of charitable clinics.

House Bill 2521, by state Rep. Sally Kern, redefines a free clinic as a charitable clinic and limits liability for volunteer physicians and other health care providers working at the clinic. The legislation defines a charitable clinic as a nonprofit entity organized for the purpose of providing health care services at no charge or for a minimal fee.

“Not all Oklahomans have access to health care either because they cannot afford it or because of the hardship of providing that care for profit in certain areas of the state,” said Kern (R-Oklahoma City). “My legislation encourages the use of charitable clinics by protecting the volunteer physicians and health care providers working in the clinic from frivolous lawsuits.”

The legislation addresses where volunteer health care providers can offer their services, Kern said.

“Charitable clinics are not truly free clinics, because many of them need to charge a small fee to cover some of their administrative costs,” Kern said. “This legislation ensures that our current law incorporates this fact.”

House Bill 2521 passed the Oklahoma House of Representatives on a 91-0 vote and now proceeds to the Senate for consideration.

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