Oklahoma providers, the most likely in the nation to use antipsychotic drugs on nursing home residents, have new incentive to limit prescribing.

Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) last week signed a law that requires a medical exam and diagnosis and informed consent from the resident or caregiver before a prescription can be written. Residents also will be allowed to refuse medications without threat of eviction, according to Tulsa’s News 6.

Rep. Tammy West, (R-Oklahoma City), said she co-authored the bill in part because of a Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services finding that 20% of the state’s nursing home residents take an antipsychotic drug.

CMS has cracked down on overprescribing of such medications, which in the past were often given to modify sleep, agitation or other behaviors frequently associated with dementia Starting in 2017, the federal agency introduced new regulations that limit which conditions antipsychotic drugs can be used for and how long they can be prescribed using non-specific, as-needed scripts.

But Oklahoma still ranks first in the nation for their use, West told local news stations.

Care Providers Oklahoma, the local AHCA affiliate, said its providers were already working on drug-reducing initiatives “with or without this legislation.”

“We have made significant progress in recent years,” President and CEO Nico Gomez told McKnight’s via email. He also acknowledged improvement had been slower than in other states.

“This is a top priority for this association and this industry,” Gomez added. “Our national ranking does not accurately reflect on the vast majority of providers who are delivering great care to our residents. We will not be ranked this low or poorly much longer.”

The bill was backed by AARP, whose Oklahoma director has called the use of “chemical restraint” immoral.