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This is the Manager’s Minute.  

Recent events in Washington, D.C. stunned the nation. The rioting in the Capitol also reminded us of the importance of reliable, timely and accurate reporting, especially during adversity.  

 

Oklahoma Again Sets Affordable Care Act Enrollment Record

Jan 4, 2021
A syringe is about to be filled with the COVID-19 vaccine.
Whitney Bryen / Oklahoma Watch

More Oklahomans than ever before will be covered by health insurance purchased off of the Affordable Care Act exchange when new plans took effect on Jan. 1.

Visitors enter an emergency room at a rural Oklahoma hospital.
Whitney Bryen / Oklahoma Watch

As the demand for intensive care among Oklahoma’s coronavirus patients continues to surge, the system is seeing strain from beginning to end — from ambulance services, to small-town hospitals, to the state’s metro health systems.


Registered nurse Raquel Hernandez reaches in to swab a passenger for a COVID-19 test at a mobile testing site at the Murray County Expo Center in Sulphur, Okla., Tuesday, April 14, 2020, in Sulphur, Okla.
Sue Ogrocki / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma is nearing one thousand deaths from COVID-19 complications. Like everywhere else, the people dying here have a high rate of what are called comorbidities, or underlying health conditions. They make it harder for the body to fight the virus, and they make death from it more likely.

State’s attorney Brad Beckworth presents information in the opening statements during the Oklahoma v. Purdue Pharma opioid trial at the Cleveland County Courthouse in Norman, Okla. on Tuesday, May 28, 2019.
Chris Landsberger / Oklahoman

The legal fight over who is responsible, and who should pay for the national opioid crisis that has killed thousands of Americans will likely take years.

Dr. Alayna Tackett demonstrates one of the devices she uses to measure the health effects of vaping.
Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma's health officials and legislators have been slow to take action to keep teenagers from vaping, even as more cases of lung-related injuries and deaths are reported.

At the beginning of November, hundreds of new laws took effect in Oklahoma, including a big change to short-term health policies.

People With Disabilities Unsheltered In Tornado Alley

Oct 31, 2019
John High relies on his Christian faith to get him through Oklahoma’s severe weather. He installed this 14-foot high cross in front of his rental house.
Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

In the state with the highest number of disaster declarations, many Oklahomans with disabilities don’t have a storm shelter.

Advocates Push For Medicaid Expansion In Oklahoma

Oct 17, 2019
Oklahomans Decide Healthcare announced they have collected the required 178,000 signatures to get the question on the ballot.
Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma Medicaid expansion advocates are working to collect the required 178,000 signatures to get the measure on the ballot next year. It would mean extending health insurance to thousands of people—and an estimated $100 million dollar price tag. As StateImpact’s Jackie Fortier reports, Medicaid expansion could be decided at the ballot box or at the statehouse.

Five Oklahoma Hospitals Collapsed – What Happened?

Sep 26, 2019
I-70 Community Hospital shut its doors in February, taking with it dozens of jobs and lifesaving emergency care for the residents of Sweet Springs, Mo
Heidi de Marco / KHN

At some rural hospitals in Oklahoma, a pattern of controversial business practices lead to big profits for the management companies – but high risks for vulnerable hospitals.

The Collapse Of A Hospital Empire — And Towns Left In The Wreckage

Sep 25, 2019
I-70 Community Hospital in Sweet Springs, Mo., is one of eight hospitals owned or managed by Miami businessman Jorge A. Perez that closed in recent years. Twelve Perez-affiliated hospitals are in bankruptcy.
Heidi de Marco / KHN

EmpowerHMS helped run an empire of rural hospitals. Now, 20 of them have either entered bankruptcy or closed their doors, including five in Oklahoma.

State's attorneys and Terri White, Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Commissioner led by Attorney General Mike Hunter, center, take to the media after Judge Thad Balkman delivered his decision in the opioid trial at the Cle
Chris Landsberger / Pool

An Oklahoma judge has ruled that drugmaker Johnson & Johnson helped ignite the state’s opioid crisis by deceptively marketing painkillers, and must pay $572 million to the state.

Oklahoma sought $17.5 billion, blaming Johnson & Johnson for fueling the crisis that has claimed the lives of more than 6,000 people in the state.

The question of whether to expand Medicaid and extend health insurance to thousands of Oklahomans promises to be a major topic over the next year.

The Healthcare Working Group, a bipartisan legislative committee charged with deciding whether to endorse Medicaid expansion or other policy moves, kicked off its work last week and is expected to unveil recommendations before next year’s session. Meanwhile, a signature-collecting drive is underway to put a state question on a 2020 ballot to accept expansion.

Medical Boards Lack Process For Opioid Complaints

Aug 9, 2019
Narcan, also known as Naloxone is an opiate overdose antidote.
Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

The ongoing court case against opioid manufacturer Johnson & Johnson highlighted the role that doctors, and the medical boards who regulate them, have played in the continuing public health crisis.

Judge Thad Balkman presides over the proceedings as Terri White, Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Commissioner, speaks as a State’s witness with attorney Reggie Whitten during the opioid trial at the Cleveland County Court
Chris Landsberger / The Oklahoman

A global megacorporation best known for Band-Aids and baby powder may have to pay billions for its alleged role in the opioid crisis. Johnson & Johnson was the sole defendant in a closely-watched trial that wrapped up in Oklahoma state court this week, with a decision expected later this summer. The ruling in the civil case could be the first that would hold a pharmaceutical company responsible for one of the worst drug epidemics in American history.

Ryan LaCroix / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

The federal government is seeking its slice of Oklahoma’s recent $270 million settlement with Purdue Pharmaceuticals, and the bill could be millions of dollars.

Oklahoma Air Quality Dips After Years Of Steady Gains

Jul 1, 2019
Vehicles threaten Oklahoma's air quality with a range of pollutants, including carbon monoxide, ground-level ozone, nitrogen dioxide, and dust and other particulates.
Whitney Bryen / Oklahoma Watch

Oklahoma’s air may be getting worse.

The newest data from the Environmental Protection Agency shows air quality throughout much of the state was down during each of the past two years. That bucked a trend in which Oklahoma, like most of the country, had seen significant strides in making the air healthier during much of the past decade.

Oklahoma Supreme Court chambers
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled Tuesday a campaign to expand government health insurance for low-income residents can move forward. KGOU's Dick Pryor and eCapitol's Shawn Ashley discuss the court's decision, which came just hours after hearing oral arguments.   

Judge Thad Balkman speaks during discussions of the settlement between the state of Oklahoma and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. during Oklahoma’s trial against drugmakers blamed for contributing to the opioid crisis, Monday, June 10, 2019.
Sue Ogrocki / AP

The first case in a flood of civil litigation against opioid drug manufacturers is in its third week in Oklahoma.

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter’s suit alleges Johnson & Johnson, the nation’s largest drugmaker, helped ignite a public health crisis that has killed thousands of state residents.

The Cleveland County courthouse in Norman, Oklahoma, where the state’s opioid trial will take place.
Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

A case that could signal the outcome of a flood of litigation against opioid drug manufacturers begins May 28th in Oklahoma.  

The bench trial is poised to be the first of its kind to play out in court. 

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