KGOU

Jackie Fortier

Reporter for StateImpact Oklahoma

Jackie reports for StateImpact Oklahoma on a variety of topics and heads its health reporting initiative. She has many journalism awards to her name during her years of multi-media reporting in Colorado, and was part of a team recognized by the Society of Professional Journalists with a Sigma Delta Chi award for excellence in breaking news reporting in 2013. She is a former young professional fellow of the Journalism and Women's Symposium, and a member of the Society of Professional Journalists, Reporters without Borders, and a lifetime member of Kappa Tau Alpha, awarded for her thesis on disability and technology in news reporting. She holds a bachelor's degree in English with an emphasis in creative writing from Colorado State University and a Master of Arts degree in journalism from the University of Colorado, Boulder. When she's not reporting, she enjoys spending time with her husband and three cats.

Ways to Connect

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Drew Edmondson says if elected, he will make expanding Medicaid in the Sooner state a top priority.
Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

On a hot Monday afternoon, Zora Sampson stands behind rows of chairs set up in the lobby of the hospital in Pauls Valley. Sampson supports the Democratic candidate for Governor Drew Edmondson — and turned up to hear his plan to help rural hospitals. 

Air ambulance rides can be lifesavers. But how much should they cost?

In the ongoing, crowdsourced "Bill of the Month" investigation, NPR and Kaiser Health News have received more than a dozen bills from people around the country on the hook for medevac helicopter rides that ranged from $28,000 to $97,000.

What gives? Why should a lifesaving flight come with a life-altering bill?

Duncan optometrist Brendhan Fritts in an exam room at this practice.
Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

Brendhan Fritts’ optometry practice in Duncan is filled with brightly colored displays of models in designer glasses, pamphlets on the importance of routine eye care — and posters against State Question 793.

Dr. William Yarborough, right, speaks with patient Richard Potts at the Oklahoma Pain and Wellness Center in Tulsa.
Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

William Yarborough walks across the hall from his office to an exam room. His Hawaiian shirt and matching khaki pants aren’t the typical doctor’s garb.

States have different rules regarding in packaging for medical marijuana products.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Interim Health Commissioner Tom Bates told a group of lawmakers Wednesday a special legislative session is needed to fix gaps in the state’s new medical marijuana rules.

Under State Question 788, medical marijuana patients will be able to grow a small number of marijuana plants at their home.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The nine-member Oklahoma State Board of Health unanimously passed new medical marijuana emergency regulations at a special meeting Wednesday.

The new emergency rules, which were updated just a few hours before the vote, are less than a third of the length of the regulations approved at the board’s July 10 meeting.

The medical marijuana information table at the Oklahoma State Department of Health.
Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

The Oklahoma State Department of Health on Friday released a new draft of medical marijuana regulations.

The most significant changes to the current rules would bring the state’s medical marijuana regulations more in line with the language that voters approved in State Question 788.

Doctors in Oklahoma are barred from recommending medical marijuana to women of “childbearing years” without first conducting a pregnancy test. Since licenses last two years, women will have to take — and likely pay for — pregnancy tests multiple times.
Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

Avery Huckabee is looking over the menu at the Earth Cafe in Norman with her friends. With the passage of State Question 788 in June, which legalized medical marijuana in Oklahoma, the high school senior is looking forward to talking to her doctor about getting a license.

In this Tuesday, July 10, 2018 file photo, Julie Ezell, speaks to the Oklahoma Board of Health in Oklahoma City.
Sue Ogrocki / AP Photo

The former lawyer for the Oklahoma State Department of Health faces felony charges accusing her of sending herself threatening emails related to Oklahoma’s recently adopted medical marijuana rules.

Oklahoma County prosecutors filed three separate charges Tuesday against Julie Ezell. The criminal complaint accuses Ezell of sending threats to her own government email account earlier this month and reporting the threats to health department investigators.

Two groups of Oklahomans have filed lawsuits to block last-minute additions to the state’s first-ever medical marijuana rules.

Voters approved the sale, cultivation and transportation of medical marijuana by passing State Question 788 in June 2018.
Mia Mamone / KGOU

On Wednesday, Gov. Mary Fallin signed into law emergency medical marijuana rules, including two controversial amendments approved by the state board of health earlier this week.

A sign advertises recreational and medical marijuana outside a dispensary in Colorado.
David Anderson / David Anderson

The Oklahoma State Board of Health on Tuesday approved emergency rules to regulate medical marijuana, which Oklahoma voters approved in June.

Medical marijuana would be legal for people 18 and over with a state issued license if SQ 788 passes.
Dank Depot / Flickr/CC BY-NC 2.0

Modeling their recommendations on some of the most restrictive medical marijuana laws in the country, a group representing doctors, hospitals, clinics and other health professionals on Monday urged the state to prevent smokable marijuana from being sold at dispensaries, limit the number of dispensaries to 50 statewide, and require a pharmacist to be in the dispensary and “part of the approval process.”

Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

The air medical field has grown tremendously since the 1980s. Air ambulances take patients to the nearest hospital, which often means crossing state lines. But a legal quirk means paying for a life-saving flight can lead to financial ruin. Congress is mulling a fix, but some air ambulance companies say it could have unintended consequences.

Mick Cornett speaks to his supporters after advancing to the Republican runoff primary election.
Joe Wertz / Oklahoma Engaged

Former Oklahoma City mayor Mick Cornett will face Tulsa businessman Kevin Stitt in a runoff for the Republican nomination for governor. 

Medical marijuana would be legal for people 18 and over with a state issued license if SQ 788 passes.
Dank Depot / Flickr/CC BY-NC 2.0

State Question 788 would allow Oklahomans over 18 to keep, use and grow medical marijuana, after they get a physician-approved license from the state. Draft rules obtained by StateImpact shed light on how state officials may regulate medical marijuana if voters pass the ballot initiative on Tuesday.

A sign advertises recreational and medical marijuana outside a dispensary in Colorado.
David Anderson / David Anderson

Pregnant women would be barred from obtaining a medical marijuana license if voters on Tuesday approve State Question 788, under proposed rules under consideration at the Oklahoma State Department of Health. The draft rules would also restrict people on probation and those recently convicted of a felony from obtaining a commercial license.

Shaunna and Michael Oliver at their home in Mannford, Okla. The couple is voting ‘yes’ on SQ 788 and say medical marijuana will help them with chronic pain from fibromyalgia, diabetes and other conditions.
Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma voters on June 26 will decide if the licensed cultivation, use and possession of marijuana for medicinal purposes should be legal.

Some polls suggest State Question 788, which would create a regulatory and licensing system for medical marijuana, is likely to pass, but many Oklahomans like Pam Hayes of Kansas, a small town in the eastern part of the state, intend to vote ‘no.’ 


Oklahoma Suicide Rate Up 36 Percent Since 1999

Jun 7, 2018
CDC’s National Vital Statistics System; CDC Vital Signs, June 2018. / Centers for Disease Control

Suicide rates are on the rise in Oklahoma and nearly every state, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Between 1999 and 2016, suicide rates increased significantly in 44 states. Oklahoma is one of 25 states that saw rates climb more than 30 percent.

Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

Babies who begin life with a long hospital stay are especially vulnerable to secondhand smoke. That’s galvanized health officials at one children’s hospital to focus on laying aside stigma when they ask parentsa simple question: ‘Do you smoke?’

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