Catherine Sweeney | KGOU

Catherine Sweeney

Reporter for StateImpact Oklahoma

Catherine Sweeney grew up in Muskogee, Oklahoma, and attended Oklahoma State University. She has covered local, state and federal government for outlets in Oklahoma, Colorado and Washington, D.C.

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OU Health

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. 

Oklahoma officials provide COVID update during a press conference on March 11, 2021.
Screen capture

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.

Oklahoma Vaccine Phase Plan
Oklahoma State Department of Health / Oklahoma State Department of Health

Oklahoma has opened its coronavirus vaccine eligibility to phase 3, which means most Oklahomans are now eligible.

Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, speaks during a news conference at the state Capitol, Monday, May 4, 2020, in Oklahoma City. Treat is one of the Legislature's most vocal abortion opponents.
Sue Ogrocki / AP

Optimistic in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s political shift, conservative Oklahoma lawmakers are pushing for laws to further restrict abortion access.

Oklahoma lawmakers have their work cut out for them on the health front.

Gov. Kevin Stitt said during a Jan. 29 press conference that Oklahoma needs to improve its health outcomes, which now rank 46th in the nation.
Ben Felder / The Frontier

Oklahoma is fundamentally transforming how it uses Medicaid, despite major opposition from the medical community and from the Legislature.

It was announced that starting the week of Feb. 22, the COVID-19 vaccine will be available to the next priority groups in Phase 2 of the state's vaccine distribution plan, including Oklahomans under 65 with comorbidities and teachers and staff in Pre-K-12
Sue Ogrocki / AP

More than one million Oklahomans will soon be eligible for the coronavirus vaccine as the state is moving forward into the next stages of its vaccine plan.

A nurse draws Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine into a syringe Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, at Integris Baptist Medical Center in Oklahoma City.
Sue Ogrocki / AP

Oklahoma’s plan for urban mass vaccination sites has fallen through.

Rev. Derrick Scobey, Ebenezer Baptist Church Senior Pastor, helped to organize the event in an effort to encourage more African Americans in Oklahoma City to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Sue Ogrocki / AP

Oklahoma County will soon be home to a large-scale coronavirus vaccine site known as a mega-POD.

Rev. Derrick Scobey, Ebenezer Baptist Church Senior Pastor, helped to organize the event in an effort to encourage more African Americans in Oklahoma City to receive the vaccine.
Sue Ogrocki / AP

For the first time in months, coronavirus cases are down in Oklahoma and medical experts are cautiously optimistic the trend will continue.

The Oklahoma Health Care Authority manages Oklahoma's Medicaid program, known as SoonerCare.
The Frontier

State officials announced the winners of up to $2.1 billion in health care contracts on Friday, a major milestone in implementing Oklahoma’s hotly debated privatized Medicaid program.

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.

A nurse draws Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine into a syringe Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, at Integris Baptist Medical Center in Oklahoma City.
Sue Ogrocki / AP

Can Oklahomans over the age of 65 get the coronavirus vaccine yet?

It depends on where they live.

Post-Holiday Coronavirus Surge Likely In Oklahoma

Dec 30, 2020
Dale Bratzler, University of Oklahoma’s chief COVID officer.
OU Health

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.

Tom Gent and his brothers have been going to the opera with his mom, Marsue, since they were kids.

Oklahoma Administers Its First Coronavirus Vaccine

Dec 14, 2020
NTEGRIS Health registered nurse Hannah White getting the state's first official dose of coronavirus vaccine.
Kassie McClung / Read Frontier

Oklahoma administered its first coronavirus vaccine Monday, marking a major milestone in the pandemic: what officials called the beginning of the end.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health building in Oklahoma City.
Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

Contractors could soon manage the Oklahoma Public Health Laboratory, Interim Commissioner of Health Lance Frye told employees this week.

In this May 23, 1944 file photo, the organism treponema pallidum, which causes syphilis, is seen through an electron microscope.

For years, syphilis seemed to disappear from the United States and from Oklahoma. But its return and ensuing surge have created a tragic pattern: a rise in babies born with the infection.

Earlier this year, health care workers formed the Healthier Oklahoma Coalition.
Facebook / Healthier Oklahoma Coalition

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.

In this June 30, 2020 file photo, Oklahoma Commissioner of Health, Dr. Lance Frye, speaks at a news conference, in Oklahoma City.
Sue Ogrocki / AP

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.