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April 25, 2013

Governor signs bill to help OU collect its medical debt

NORMAN — Gov. Mary Fallin recently signed legislation that will help OU Medical Center collect unpaid medical bills. Senate Bill 945 modifies procedures for the tax warrant intercept program, within the Oklahoma Tax Commission. The program allows the Tax Commission to intercept state tax refunds for debt owed to district and municipal courts, and public housing agencies, among other entities.

SB 945 modifies the program by adding debt for medical services rendered by state agencies under the statutes.

Sen. Rob Standridge partnered with Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman to author the proposal.

“This program simply enables state government to more efficiently collect debts,” said Standridge, R-Norman. “And it only makes sense that debt owed to facilities like OU Medical Center should fall under the statute. It stands to reason that state government should not send tax refunds to those who owe money to the government, without first collecting the sum owed.”

Standridge said officials expect the legislation will result in the collection of millions in unpaid medical bills every year.

“It makes little sense for the Tax Commission to send the money out and leave it to another government body to collect the unpaid bill,” Standridge said. “This program allows government to work more efficiently, directing its attention and resources where it can be most effective. Putting those resources to work for OU Medical Center will have a positive impact on the facility.”

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