In The Know: OSBI investigating new allegations of forgery by Epic Charter Schools’ co-founder and CFO, Prison health director points working group to Medicaid expansion state solutions for former inmates

In The KnowIn The Know is your daily briefing on Oklahoma policy-related news. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. Click here to subscribe to In The Know and see past editions.

New from OK Policy

Prosperity Policy: Life support for rural hospitals: Rural hospitals in Oklahoma are in crisis. Since 2011, at least five have closed – in Sayre, Frederick, Latimer, Paul’s Valley, and Eufaula. Hospitals in Drumright, Prague, Seiling, Stigler, Vinita and Atoka, as well as Fairfax, have filed for bankruptcy. [David Blatt / OK Policy]

In The News

OSBI investigating new allegations of forgery by Epic Charter Schools’ co-founder and CFO, willful neglect by board members: The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation executed another search warrant Wednesday in its investigation into Epic Charter Schools, and its inquiry now includes new allegations against administrators and governing board members. [Tulsa World] In the affidavit for the search warrant, an Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation agent alleges Epic has been using state-appropriated funds to pay for students’ extracurricular expenses through independent vendors but reported those expenditures to the state as “instructional services,” which the OSBI agent alleges is fraud. [Oklahoma WatchThe Legislature considered several bills last session to better regulate virtual charter schools.

Tulsa County jail becomes first state facility to offer opioid-addicted inmates relapse-prevention drug: A pilot program offered by the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office that allows opioid-addicted inmates a chance to receive a relapse-prevention drug upon their release from jail would be the first of its kind in the state. The Tulsa County jail will be the first in Oklahoma to provide Vivitrol, an FDA-approved drug meant to curb urges and inhibit the effects of opioid use. [Tulsa World]

Prison health director points working group to Medicaid expansion state solutions for former inmates: The Oklahoma Healthcare Working Group on Wednesday dug into the issue of prison health care and the sudden lack of care inmates face when they get out. It’s rare for former inmates to have insurance, and few meet the eligibility requirements for Medicaid. [Public Radio TulsaClick here for more information and resources about SQ 802.

Rep. Cynthia Roe: Women intentionally violated parole to access cancer treatment: When nurse practitioner Cynthia Roe was working weekends for the Lindsay Municipal Hospital, she often cared for Oklahoma Department of Corrections inmates who were admitted for treatment. Twice, she encountered women with cancer who revealed a shocking story. [NonDocWe could increase access to treatment and reduce cancer deaths in our state by expanding Medicaid.

Verdict to be announced Monday in state’s lawsuit against opioid manufacturers: A verdict will be announced 3 p.m. Monday in Oklahoma’s multibillion dollar lawsuit against opioid manufacturer Johnson & Johnson and affiliated drug companies, Cleveland County District Judge Thad Balkman revealed Wednesday. [The Oklahoman]

Higher Medicaid rates take effect in October: An increase in Medicaid reimbursement rates paid to health care providers in Oklahoma will deliver a much-needed infusion of funds and help preserve medical services, especially in rural parts of the state, the president of the Oklahoma State Medical Association said. [Journal Record ????]

New policy impacts out-of-state services for SoonerCare members: Significant changes to SoonerCare’s out-of-state (OOS) services policies will take effect Sept. 1, impacting members seeking specialty medical care outside of Oklahoma. [Henessey Clipper]

Rationing insulin can be dangerous: Oklahomans are particularly vulnerable. The Sooner state has the second-highest uninsured rate in the nation and a climbing diabetic rate. It’s already one of the highest in the country. [Public Radio Tulsa] Oklahoma’s uninsured rate crept up last year for the first time since 2010.

New law regarding medical marijuana and traffic stops on hold: Senate Bill 1030 was signed into law in May. It primarily focuses on zoning rules, however, there is a provision over traffic stops and what happens if a medical marijuana patient does not have their card on them. [KFOR]

Editorial: Regulator’s criticism symptomatic of class divide: Oklahoma Corporation Commissioner Bob Anthony’s criticism of the state’s mandatory Universal Service Fund is symptomatic of the classism that often splits urban and rural lines at the state capital. [Editorial Board / Muskogee Phoenix]

“Those doors can be reopened,” Oklahoma inmates getting an education before heading back into society: More than 1,000 DOC inmates get their GED each year. It’s thanks to the dozens of teachers in their staff – teachers like Todd Winn. Winn is adjusting from teaching high school students for 30 years to, now, those looking for a second chance. [KFORAccess to higher education programming can also promote successful re-entry for the justice involved.

As testimony continues, trial in Michael Manos’ death hits a few snags: The trial in the death of Michael Manos hit a few snags on Wednesday as previously undisclosed records related to other inmate deaths and even a document related to the care of Manos at the Carter County jail were discovered by his estate this week. [The Frontier]

Judge orders release from prison or new trial for ‘Innocent Man’ defendant Karl Fontenot: A federal judge ruled Wednesday that Karl Fontenot, one of the defendants profiled in the Netflix documentary and John Grisham book “The Innocent Man,” be either released from prison permanently or granted a new trial. [The Frontier]

Tulsa County fails most aspects in challenge of $10.25 million award to estate of man who died in jail: An appellate court has upheld a verdict and denied a new trial sought by Tulsa County officials in a case involving a naked, paralyzed man who died in 2011 at the Tulsa County jail of dehydration and other causes. [Tulsa World]

County Commissioners clash over security in public building: A motion to secure a county building where two of the county commissioners’ offices and the entire public defenders’ staff are located did not pass Wednesday at the Board of County Commissioners meeting. [Free Press OKC]

OKCPS needs $5.5 million to implement mental health plan: Oklahoma City Public Schools is launching a new program to fight mental illness. The district needs community partners to step up to help students dealing with substance abuse, depression, and trauma. [Fox25]

Sovereign Community School opens in Seeworth Academy campus: A new charter school emphasizing Native American culture will take over the former Seeworth Academy campus. [The Oklahoman]

Councilor says TPD has ‘trust problem,’ questions why officer wasn’t arrested on night of nightclub incident: A city councilor on Tuesday accused the Tulsa Police Department of attempting to sweep under the rug the actions of one of its own. [Tulsa WorldRead OK Policy’s report on community policing to learn more about strategies to build trust between law enforcement and communities.

Third Mass Graves Investigation Public Oversight Committee meeting scheduled for Thursday: It is expected members of Mass Graves Investigation Public Oversight Committee will identify key decision points in the physical investigation process and attempt to establish ground rules for each step moving forward. [Tulsa World]

Oklahoma among tops in nation for wind growth the past decade, study shows: A report issued this week that tracks the growth of renewable energy during the past decade gives Oklahoma breezy marks in one area it tracked. [The Oklahoman]

Quote of the Day

“They specifically told me that they violated their parole because they didn’t have insurance. They were outside, their cancer came back and they couldn’t afford to have it treated…That bothers me a lot that somebody would choose to go back to prison just to get treatment for the cancer they otherwise could not get treatment for.”

– Rep. Cynthia Roe (R-Lindsay) [NonDoc]

Number of the Day


Number of hours a minimum wage worker would need to work each week to afford a one-bedroom apartment at fair market rent in Oklahoma

[Source: National Low Income Housing Coalition]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Have Cancer, Must Travel: Patients left in lurch after town’s hospital closes: Nationwide, more than 100 rural hospitals have closed since 2010. In each case, a unique but familiar loss occurs. Residents, of course, lose health care services as wards are shut and doctors and nurses begin to move away. But the ripple effect can be equally devastating. [NPR]

You can sign up here to receive In The Know by e-mail.


Jessica joined OK Policy as a Communications Associate in January 2018. A Mexican immigrant, she was a Clara Luper Scholar at Oklahoma City University where she obtained a B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy. Prior to joining OK Policy, Jessica worked at a digital marketing agency in Oklahoma City. She is an alumna of both the National Education for Women (N.E.W.) Leadership Institute (2013) and OK Policy's Summer Policy Institute (2015). In addition to her role at OK Policy, Jessica serves as a board member for Dream Action Oklahoma in OKC and communications director for Dream Alliance Oklahoma in Tulsa.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.