Health
6:16 am
Wed July 2, 2014

CDC Ranks Oklahoma 5th In The Nation In Painkiller Prescription Rate

Oklahoma ranked lower than only Alabama, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Kentucky in the number of opioid painkillers prescribed to residents.
Centers for Disease Control And Prevention

A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows Oklahoma tied for fifth in the nation in the rate  of painkillers prescribed to its residents.

The CDC says Oklahoma doctors wrote about 128 opioid pain reliever prescriptions, drugs like oxycodone and hydrocodone, per 100 state residents.

Read more

Will is thrilled to be reporting and delivering the news for KUNR. An East Coast transplant, he's worked at NPR stations in Philadelphia, New York and most recently Connecticut. He's also interned at the NPR West Headquarters in Los Angeles where he learned from some of the network's best correspondents. Before joining the public radio airwaves, he studied English at a small liberal arts college and covered arts and culture for an alternative news weekly in Philadelphia.

He's particularly drawn to education, government and environmental reporting, but will jump on any story that gets him out into the field with a mic in hand. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking, fish tacos and great American poetry.

6:46 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Oklahoma Is Winning Its Medicaid Standoff With The Feds — For Now

Lead in text: 
The one-year extension announced by Gov. Mary Fallin on Monday keeps Insure Oklahoma on life support through the end of 2015. In her statement, the governor talked about buying more time to negotiate a permanent place for Insure Oklahoma — but nothing about expanding coverage.
Oklahoma is one of about two dozen states that hasn't expanded Medicaid - and it's tangled in a unique standoff of sorts with the Obama administration. Oklahoma and the federal agency overseeing Medicaid are still wrestling with the fate of a decade-old state program covering almost 20,000 low-income adults.
Environment
5:59 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Rain Not Only Lessens Drought, It Brings Back The Lesser Prairie Chicken Population

Credit J.N. Stuart / Flickr.com

An aerial survey shows good rains in parts of the five-state range of the federally threatened lesser prairie chicken have brought a 20 percent increase in the grouse's population from last year.

A release Tuesday from the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies says there were 22,415 lesser prairie chickens in this year's survey, up from 18,747 last year.

The increase came in the northeast Texas Panhandle, northwestern Oklahoma and south central Kansas — areas where more rain produced better prairie habitat. The bird is also in New Mexico and Colorado.

Read more

Wayne Yoshioka is an award-winning journalist who has worked in television, print and radio in Hawaii.  He also has been on both sides of politics as a state departmental appointee and political/government reporter.   He covered Hurricane Iwa (1982) as a TV reporter; was the State Department of Defense/Civil Defense spokesperson for Hurricane Iniki (1992); and, commanded a public affairs detachment in Afghanistan (2006).  He has a master's degree in Communication from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and is a decorated combat veteran (Legion of Merit, Bronze Star and 22 other commendation/service medals).  He resides in Honolulu.

Trail of tears
4:09 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Tennessee Acknowledges And Apologizes To Cherokees For Removal

Cherokee Nation Secretary Of State Chuck Hoskin, Jr. and Tribal Councilor Jack Baker
Credit Lawrence Boothby / Anadisgoi

Tennessee lawmakers have apologized to the Cherokee Nation for actions taken by President Andrew Jackson that forced up to 16,000 Cherokees off Tennessee lands 175 years ago.

The Tennessee General Assembly passed House Joint Resolution 553 at an event Friday to commemorate the anniversary of the Trail of Tears.

Read more
Immigration
1:35 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Oklahoma Officials Call For Immigration Reform

A group of current and former Oklahoma Republican elected officials is urging Congress to pass an immigration reform measure this year, saying the current system isn't working for the state's business owners and farmers.

In a letter Tuesday to the state's five U.S. House members and two U.S. senators, the group says there is broad support among Republican voters to make significant changes to the country's immigration system.

Read more
Politics and Government
8:38 am
Tue July 1, 2014

Earthquake Insurance Sees Rise In Oklahoma, Gets More Attention

Credit Great Beyond / Flickr Creative Commons

The recent increase in earthquakes has been alarming citizens and legislators who are questioning the causes and also preparing for more, making earthquake insurance all the more prevalent.

Only a single bill pertaining particularly to earthquakes was filed during the 2014 session.

Read more
Oklahoma Watch
7:45 am
Tue July 1, 2014

Oklahoma Medicaid Providers Face More Possible Cuts

Images Money Flickr Creative Commons

In its second round of sweeping budget cuts, the Oklahoma Health Care Authority on Tuesday will consider reducing payments to doctors and other Medicaid providers by $159 million, effective immediately.

The authority will meet in special session to vote on provider reimbursement cuts affecting up to 13,932 physicians, 2,097 advanced practice nurses, 1,561 therapists, 1,285 physician assistants, 1,277 pharmacies, 1,255 personal care providers, 1,133 dentists and several thousand other providers.

Read more
Health
6:16 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Insure Oklahoma Health Care Plan Given Another Year

Credit 401(K) 2012 / Flickr.com

The federal government will let the state operate its Insure Oklahoma health care plan for another year, keeping alive a program that provides coverage to about 19,000 of the state's working poor and their families.

Gov. Mary Fallin announced Monday that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services extended the program through Dec. 31, 2015. It was set to expire at the end of the year.

Read more

Pages