If the partial shutdown of the federal government continues for weeks, it could lead to cutbacks in the federally funded program that helps low-income women, infants and children in Oklahoma, officials said Wednesday.
One possible result could be limiting the aid provided under the federal Women, Infants and Children program to only one or two of those groups, such as infants.
Oklahoma health officials say a dentist's office shut down for unsafe practices last spring is responsible for the first known transmission of hepatitis C from one dental patient to another.
The state epidemiologist said Tuesday that genetic testing at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed that the virus was passed at the Tulsa-area offices of Dr. W. Scott Harrington.
Health officials said the use of unsanitary equipment led to cross-contamination between patients.
Oklahoma's infant mortality rate is declining but remains above the national rate.
The Oklahoma State Department of Health said Tuesday that the state's infant mortality rate has declined from 8.6 per 1,000 live births in 2007 to 7.9 per 1,000 live births in 2012.
But the state's infant mortality rate remains above the national rate of 6.15 per 1,000 live births recorded in 2010. Suzanna Dooley, director of the agency's Maternal and Child Health Service, says about 90 fewer Oklahoma babies would die each year if the state matched the national rate.
In just six weeks, nearly one in 10 Oklahomans will be able to buy subsidized health policies from private insurance companies through a new online marketplace set up by the federal government.
Many more who don’t qualify for the subsidies will still be able to shop on the marketplace and obtain coverage, even if they’ve been turned down in the past for pre-existing conditions.
But it won’t be simple. Several companies will offer policies, with different levels of coverage. Tax credits will be available for people falling within certain income ranges. Many people will need one-on-one assistance to navigate the registration process.
The Oklahoma State Board of Health plans to meet partly in executive session to discuss the ongoing investigation of a Tulsa oral surgeon who was at the center of a public health scare involving thousands of his patients.
The meeting in Oklahoma City starts Tuesday morning. The executive session is scheduled as the second-to-last item on the agenda, and a spokeswoman with the agency could not comment on what specifically would be discussed.
Abortion providers in Oklahoma would be required to answer dozens of new questions on a state questionnaire under a bill given final approval in the House despite concerns the bill paves the way for costly litigation against the state.
Credit Catherine Roberts / KWGS News - Public Radio Tulsa
State Epidemiologist Dr. Kristy Bradley, Oklahoma Board of Dentistry Executive Director Susan Rogers and Tulsa Health Department Director Dr. Bruce Dart encourage anyone potentially exposed to visit the Health Department's free clinic.