In The Know: Health Care Authority backs away from provider cuts

In The KnowIn The Know is a daily synopsis of Oklahoma policy-related news and blogs. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. You can sign up here to receive In The Know by e-mail.

The Oklahoma Health Care Authority, which administers Medicaid in Oklahoma announced on Thursday that more carryover funds than expected meant the agency would not have to institute provider rate cuts to physician assistants and nurse practitioners, although concerns remain that continuing state budget problems mean the cuts are still on the table next year [Oklahoma Watch]. Our FY 2016 Budget Highlights display all state agency appropriations since 2009 [OK Policy]. Naloxone, a fast-acting drug that can reverse the effects of an opiate overdose, is now available without a prescription from 34 pharmacies in Oklahoma [NewsOK]. Prescription drug overdoses, including opiate overdoses, kill more Oklahomans than car accidents [OK Policy Blog]. Tulsa’s foreclosure rate dropped from April to May, although it was significantly higher than in May of last year [Tulsa World].

A guest post on the OK Policy Blog argued that states frequently adopt other states’ policies without evidence that those policies work, frequently resulting in the replication of failed public policies throughout the states [OK Policy Blog]. An op-ed in the Tulsa World explained why a juvenile competency bill Gov. Fallin recently signed into law is a positive step forward for juvenile justice in Oklahoma [Tulsa World]. Arnold Hamilton wrote that the death penalty in Oklahoma is on life support [Journal Record].

Recent rains in the state broke the drought, but also flooded fields came too late to help the wheat harvest much [StateImpact]. Flooding has also shut down shipping on the Arkansas River [Journal Record]. African-American churches in Tulsa are planning a prayer vigil for victims of the Charleston shooting [KJRH]. The Number of the Day is 85% – Oklahoma’s public high school cohort graduation rate for the 2012-13 school year. In today’s Policy Note, NPR discusses summer nutrition programs that provide food for kids when schools are on summer break [NPR].

In The News

Health Agency Backs Away From Payment Cuts

The Oklahoma Health Care Authority won’t be cutting provider rates to physician assistants and nurse practitioners, at least not during the 2016 fiscal year. Carrie Evans, the Authority’s chief financial officer, made the announcement Thursday morning at the beginning a public hearing of the state plan amendment rate committee.

Read more from Oklahoma Watch.

See also: FY 2016 Budget Highlights from OK Policy.

Naloxone available in Oklahoma without a prescription

Over the past 12 years, Oklahoma has seen the overall number of overdose deaths from prescription drugs more than double, and the number of deaths due to hydrocodone and oxycodone more than quadruple. Oklahomans across the state have lost their lives to prescription drug overdose — moms and dads, brothers and sisters, grandparents and a toddler.

Read more from NewsOK.

See also: Oklahoma’s biggest drug problem isn’t what you think from the OK Policy Blog.

Tulsa-area foreclosures in May rise significantly from last year

Though fewer people in the Tulsa area faced foreclosure in May than in April, the overall level of foreclosures was significantly higher than last year. Approximately 484 foreclosures were filed in the metro area last month, according to statistics from real estate data service RealtyTrac.

Read more from the Tulsa World.

The myth of state policy innovation

Many state legislatures are not professional or full-time, or they lack extensive research staff to undertake policy work. So they turn to other states to see what they have done. States may find out about other states’ policy initiatives at conferences, such as those of the Council of State Governments or the National Conference of State Legislatures, and then adopt those policies as their own with minor modifications.

Read more from the OK Policy Blog.

Oklahoma juvenile competency bill signals positive change

The recent signing of Senate Bill 457 by Gov. Mary Fallin may not have captivated the public’s attention, but this legislation is important and long overdue for children in delinquency proceedings who do not have sufficient understanding of the process, realize the importance of having an attorney to assist them, or understand the consequences of their decisions due to mental illness or intellectual/developmental disabilities.

Read more from the Tulsa World.

State’s death penalty on life support

No matter how the U.S. Supreme Court rules later this month on the constitutionality of Oklahoma’s execution cocktail, it won’t be the final word on state-sanctioned killing here. Our punitive, eye-for-an-eye Legislature made certain of that. Fearing that even a conservative-majority high court could nix the state’s experimental use of midazolam in its death potion, lawmakers OK’d nitrogen hypoxia as an alternative, though it’s never been tried.

Read more from The Journal Record.

See also: Does the death penalty cost more than it’s worth? from the OK Policy Blog.

Turmoil continues in Oklahoma Republican Party over Brogdon staffer

Turmoil continues within the Oklahoma Republican Party over a controversial hire by new party Chairman Randy Brogdon. Brogdon’s decision to place T.C. Ryan on the staff as political director caused controversy in some quarters of the GOP because of a domestic violence incident.

Read more from the Tulsa World.

Drought-Breaking Rain Proving Too Much, Too Late for Oklahoma Wheat Farmers

May 2015 was Oklahoma’s wettest month on record. The historic rainfall washed away an economically draining drought that haunted parts of the state for five years. For many wheat farmers in southwestern Oklahoma, however, the record rainfall is too much, too late.

Read more from StateImpact.

At Tulsa Port of Catoosa, the wheat waits

The Arkansas and Verdigris rivers remained closed to navigation Thursday, creating a potential bottleneck at the Tulsa Port of Catoosa for the state’s wheat harvest. But the same heavy rains that have flooded the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System are keeping farmers from getting into their fields anyway, industry spokespeople said, so a bigger negative effect might still be avoided if the weather clears up soon enough.

Read more from Journal Record.

Charleston church killings stir reaction from Tulsa’s African-American congregations

The killings in the historic African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina are being investigated as a hate crime– it’s that racial aspect that’s reverberating in Tulsa, which has its own history of racial tension. That tension dates back to before the historic race riots of 1921. The First Baptist Church of North Tulsa has roots back to that era and beyond.

Read more from KJRH.

Quote of the Day

“I didn’t know if we would get our voices heard. But we are very pleased.”

– Toni Pratt-Reid, a nurse practitioner who operates three medical clinics in the Oklahoma City and Piedmont areas, regarding news that the Oklahoma Health Care Authority had announced it would not follow through with provider rates to physician assistants and nurse practitioners this year (Source)

Number of the Day


Oklahoma’s public high school cohort graduation rate for the 2012-13 school year

Source: National Center for Education Statistics.

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

This Summer, The Cafeteria Comes To The Kids

“Chow bus! Chow bus! Chow bus!” chants Gunner Fischer, 3, as a custom-painted school bus rounds the corner and rumbles toward his apartment complex in Murfreesboro, Tenn. About 21 million students nationwide eat free and reduced-price meals throughout the school year, but getting those same kids fed during the summer is a challenge. Only a fraction of those make it to schools or community centers for summer meals.

Read more from NPR.

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Carly Putnam joined OK Policy in 2013. As Policy Director, she supervises policy research and strategy. She previously worked as an OK Policy intern, and she was OK Policy's health care policy analyst through July 2020. She graduated from the University of Tulsa in 2013. As a student, she was a participant in the National Education for Women (N.E.W.) Leadership Institute and interned with Planned Parenthood. Carly is a graduate of the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits Nonprofit Management Certification; the Oklahoma Developmental Disabilities Council’s Partners in Policymaking; The Mine, a social entrepreneurship fellowship in Tulsa; and Leadership Tulsa Class 62. She currently serves on the boards of Restore Hope Ministries and The Arc of Oklahoma. In her free time, she enjoys reading, cooking, and doing battle with her hundred year-old house.

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