(Oklahoma City-AP) -- A state Senate committee has struck down a Health Department requirement involving nursing homes.
The department has required at least a 92 percent occupancy rate in any community's existing nursing homes before any new facilities can be built or new beds brought on line.
A bill by Senator Mike Johnson of Kingfisher would remove the certificate-of-need occupancy requirement.
The bill would have the state Board of Health adopt rules designed to reduce illness and death among nursing home patients.
Nursing home owners who support the certificate-of-need rule say it's needed to ensure adequate care.
But critics say the real interest of those nursing home owners is in protecting their pocketbooks.