You might have seen the full page ad that OU Physicians took out in The Oklahoman, which argued that BlueCross and BlueShield undervalues its workers. You might have seen the dueling web pages about the dispute, on OU Health’s website and on BlueCross’ website — the latter aiming to dispel so-called myths about the fight.
On the one-year anniversary of the canceled Oklahoma City Thunder game that marked the pandemic's arrival in the United States, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt announced an end to the state’s already limited coronavirus safeguards.
When the federal government kicked off Operation Warp Speed, the program to administer vaccines, it allowed states to build their own plans. These plans created priority groups, and then sorted those into phases. For example, Oklahoma’s frontline health care workers who treat COVID-19 patients became the first priority group, and composed Phase one. Phase two includes several groups, such as Oklahomans over the age of 65 and health workers not treating COVID-19.
As Oklahoma rounds out the first year of the coronavirus pandemic, residents have come to expect post-holiday spikes in case counts. After every major holiday, such as the Fourth of July and Labor Day, daily new cases of the virus doubled statewide.
Despite full ICUs and record-breaking case counts, state officials have maintained that Oklahoma’s coronavirus situation is tenable and requires little new action. StateImpact’s Catherine Sweeney reports that a coalition of health professionals are starting to speak for themselves.
As Oklahoma attempts to manage its third coronavirus wave, state officials have pitched a controversial tool to address the state’s health worker shortage: allowing infected nurses, physicians and staff to keep working.