Care Providers Oklahoma Praises Gov. Stitt, A.G. O’Connor for Opposing Federal Vaccine Mandate on Health Care Workers

OKLAHOMA CITY – After a Capitol press conference last week where Gov. Kevin Stitt and Attorney General John O’Connor touted Oklahoma’s opposition to federal vaccine mandates, Care Providers Oklahoma President and CEO Steven Buck praised the governor and the A.G. for mounting a strong legal challenge against mandates that would exacerbate the current health care workforce crisis.  

“The focus of our association is to help our members provide vulnerable Oklahomans with excellent care and the best quality of life in the safest environments possible,” said Buck in a summary sent to and other news organizations. 

“At the forefront of that mission is the ability of every skilled nursing facility to field a well-trained and dedicated staff, a task that was difficult heading into the pandemic and has only intensified as it progressed. Federal vaccine mandates, however well-intentioned, can make finding qualified staff impossible and will negatively impact senior health by forcing providers to stop taking new admissions and, in the direst circumstances, forcing them to close their doors. “As I’ve been sharing for weeks, our buildings cannot afford to lose a single team member, and this federal vaccine mandate threatens our ability to provide the most basic of care. We appreciate Governor Kevin Stitt and Attorney General John O’Connor for recognizing the real-world impact of this onerous federal mandate and mounting an aggressive legal challenge.” 

In a press release, Buck said the association and individual facilities, while opposing the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed vaccine mandate on health care workers (especially since CMS did not offer an alternative pathway for employees, such as more frequent testing), are working hard to get as many residents and employees voluntarily vaccinated as possible. 

“Our message to residents and staff continues to be that vaccines are safe and effective, said Buck. “Since we began introducing COVID vaccines in our facilities – where over 85% of residents and nearly two-thirds of the staff are now fully vaccinated – COVID cases and deaths have steadily declined. Oklahoma skilled nursing facilities will continue to encourage as many of our residents and staff members as possible to get fully vaccinated, but we do not need or want the federal government to do that job for us.”

About Care Providers Oklahoma: Previously, known as the Oklahoma Association of Health Care Providers (OAHCP), Care Providers Oklahoma represents the interests of more than 18,000 residents and the 19,000 professionals who work in Oklahoma’s long-term care facilities, including nursing homes, assisted living homes and intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities. Care Providers, Oklahoma’s mission is to assist its members in providing the highest quality care to the seniors, individuals with disabilities and vulnerable Oklahomans who live in our facilities. Learn more about the group here: . Care Providers Oklahoma says, “We advocate for the enhancement of that care so that Oklahoma long-term care residents may live in the comfort and dignity they deserve.”