Oklahoma

Environment, Education, Energy: Policy to People

Jackie Fortier

Health Reporter

Experts Say Oklahoma’s Opioid Plan Does Little to Expand Treatment

Janet Cizek, CEO of the Center for Therapeutic Interventions in Tulsa speaks to an employee.

Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

Janet Cizek, CEO of the Center for Therapeutic Interventions in Tulsa speaks to an employee.

Drug overdose deaths in Oklahoma increased 91 percent over the last decade and a half, prompting the state to form a task force charged with a daunting goal: Brainstorm a plan to guide the state out of an opioid epidemic that kills three Oklahomans nearly every day.

The Commission on Opioid Abuse released its final report in January.

“The sort of clear and present danger is overprescribing and oversupply, and that was the focus of what we looked at,” Attorney General Mike Hunter, who headed the nine-member commission, said in an interview with StateImpact. Continue Reading

How Increasing The Minimum Wage Could Lead To Healthier Babies

Baby Jacob weighs 7.14 pounds - some infants aren't as lucky.

Jackie Fortier / StateImpact

Baby Jacob weighs 7.14 pounds - some infants aren't as lucky.

Jacob is just a few hours old when registered nurse Amy Burnett begins one of the simplest measurements to tell if a newborn is healthy — their weight.

“You want to make sure that they are naked, they have no diaper, and you bring him to the scale,” she says as she removes his tiny Pampers.

She gently picks him up, confidently balancing his body on her forearm like a football. Her purple gloved fingers encircle his neck as she hits a button on the scale, which beeps loudly, zeroing it out.

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Q&A: A Look Ahead At The Stories StateImpact Is Following Into The New Year

StateImpact reporters preview the key health, education, energy and environment issues they'll be tracking in 2018.

StateImpact Oklahoma

StateImpact reporters preview the key health, education, energy and environment issues they'll be tracking in 2018.

Twenty-seventeen is wrapping up, but the growing group of reporters at StateImpact are following many important government policy issues that will carry on into the new year.

Senior Reporter and Managing Editor Joe Wertz brought the StateImpact team into the studio for a preview of their coverage in the year to come. Here are some excerpts from the conversation edited for clarity:

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Budget Uncertainty Leaves Seniors and Oklahomans With Disabilities In Limbo

Lori Taylor reads the second letter she received from the state Department of Human Services informing her that her Medicaid waiver program will be funded temporarily.

Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

Lori Taylor reads the second letter she received from the state Department of Human Services informing her that her Medicaid waiver program will be funded temporarily.

After her divorce, Lori Taylor wanted a home all her own. She moved back to Oklahoma to be near her aging parents, but she had a problem. For years her personal caregiver had been her now ex-husband.

“I have cerebral palsy and that’s brain damage that I incurred at birth, and it affects my motor skills. I’m confined to an electric wheelchair. I can stand but I can’t walk, I have very limited use of my arms,” Taylor says, sitting in the living room of her Norman apartment.

She is able to live alone because of a form of Medicaid known in Oklahoma as the ADvantage waiver program. It’s called a waiver because it diverts Medicaid funds that would normally pay for institutional care like hospitals or nursing homes to pay for in-home support services. Waiver programs are popular in many states because they are more cost effective – nursing homes are expensive, and for the same amount of money the state can help more people live at home.

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