Oklahoma moves to relax requirements for top health role

A bill in Oklahoma would lessen the requirements for the state health commissioner, reported the Oklahoman March 20.

Currently, state law requires that candidates must have a doctorate in medicine and license to practice, a degree in osteopathic medicine and a license to practice, a doctorate degree in public health or a masters of science plus five years experience in health administration services. 

Under the new bill, the candidate would be exempt from previous requirements and instead would need a master's degree in any field and experience managing a state agency or large project. 

Proponents of the bill state it simply broadens the requirements, allowing for more flexibility for recruitment to the top health position. However, others have pointed out that the pandemic taught the state that there is a strong need for qualified medical professionals to guide health policy decisions. 

The bill has passed through the state Senate and now awaits vote in the state House of Representatives. 


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