State Sen. Ervin Yen, R-Oklahoma City, on the Senate floor Tuesday, May 17, 2016.
Sue Ogrocki / AP

State Sen. Ervin Yen, R-Oklahoma City, plans to explore vaccination issues during the 2017 legislative session.

In an interview Friday morning, the Oklahoma City Republican told eCapitol’s Tyler Talley vaccination rates have plummeted over the last decade, and he said it’s his duty as a physician to advocate for vaccinations:

He explained that there was once a 95 percent Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccination rate among kindergartners in Oklahoma.

Leah Thompson Carter, of Bartlesville, lost her son to a prescription drug overdose and is afraid she will lose another. Here, she speaks at the Suicide Awareness Summit in Bartlesville in September.
Clifton Adcock / Oklahoma Watch

For many Oklahomans, the tug of war between drug addiction and the wait time for treatment can be a one-sided competition: The power of addiction often wins.

Those who lack insurance or cannot pay out of pocket often find themselves on a long waiting list that prioritizes the most severe drug addiction cases. If the person isn’t pregnant or injecting drugs, he or she will not receive state-funded treatment or will be forced to wait, sometimes weeks, until a spot opens up.

Jamie Gerrard and Michael Ling prepare blood samples for testing at Oklahoma Blood Institute in Oklahoma City.
Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

New federal recommendations could have a ripple effect on blood donation centers across the country. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Friday all blood donation centers should test for the Zika virus.

The Oklahoma Blood Institute is one of many donation centers changing its testing practices to screen for the pathogen.

Oklahoma has until mid-November to get new testing procedures in place, The Journal Record’s Sarah Terry-Cobo reports:

A resident sits outside Hennessey Care Center. The nursing home is one of six in the state that will be transferred into receivership while the landlord finds a new operator.
The Hennessey Clipper

A company that bought six nursing homes across rural Oklahoma this month also acquired more than $500,000 in overdue lease payments from the homes’ operator, and the homes can’t pay their rent.

Trinik Holdings wants to bring in a new tenant, but said in court filings that simply evicting the operator would be harmful to the residents who need specialized care.

Dr. Scott Dellinger talks with a patient at Willowood at Mustang senior living center in Mustang.
Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

Last week the insurance industry group Genworth released an annual report that showed returns for home health care in Oklahoma fell in 2015 compared to previous years. But the costs for all healthcare segments in Oklahoma are going up, and the price of home healthcare rose 2.5 percent over last year.

That’s related to a nationwide trend of rising home care costs as Medicare providers try to keep chronically ill patients out of hospitals, The Journal Record’s Sarah Terry-Cobo reports:

Christmas lights still wrap the entrance to Sayre Memorial Hospital, which has been closed for five months. The nearest emergency room is now in Elk City, 14 miles away.
Dale Denwalt / The Journal Record

The hospital in the small town of Sayre closed its doors in February after municipal trust authority members weren't able to renegotiate bond payments.

jfcherry /

Five county health department locations in Oklahoma will close July 1 due to the state’s projected $1.3 billion budget shortfall. Deborah Nichols, chief operating officer at the Oklahoma State Department of Health, told The Oklahoman’s Jaclyn Cosgrove the closings are only a portion of the department’s cuts.

Planned Parenthood of Central Oklahoma
Sue Ogrocki / Associated Press

The Oklahoma Health Care Authority says it is ending its contracts with two Planned Parenthood organizations that provide health care services to low-income women and families in the state.

OHCA Chief Executive Officer Nico Gomez confirmed in a statement Wednesday the contracts will be terminated effective June 29.

Gomez says the agency in February notified Planned Parenthood of Central Oklahoma and Planned Parenthood of Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma of its intent to terminate the provider agreements.

Mike and Mary Ann Johnson, and her daughter Deanie  Neugebauer, bought this home in Frederick, Oklahoma in the summer of 2015.
Jacob McCleland / KGOU


Mary Ann Johnson and her husband bought a spacious 1970s-era ranch home in Frederick last summer. The remodeled kitchen is wide and open with a brand-new island juxtaposed by a retro cooking stove.

The couple grew up in Frederick, and they still have lots of friends and family here. It’s quiet and peaceful and they love the slow pace of life after years of living in Oklahoma City. It was an easy decision to buy the house and retire in this small, southwestern Oklahoma town.

But now, Johnson is worried about her daughter, Deanie.

Five years ago, Tonia Sina was diagnosed with a blood-clotting disorder called atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome.
Photo illustration by Brent Fuchs and Bryan M. Richter / The Journal Record

There’s no shortage of issues to address when it comes to the $900-million-and-counting budget shortfall over the next four months of legislative session.

The number could grow larger when the Board of Equalization certifies new numbers later this month. In Gov. Mary Fallin’s executive budget unveiled Monday during her State of the State address, most state agencies will see a 6 percent cut. Some, like the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, will take a smaller 3 percent hit.

For most of its existence, Oklahoma City has been an oil-fueled place, ringed and riveted by superhighways and boulevards unsullied by shoulder or sidewalk. It was a city built to make cars happy. Parking was effortless, walking unnecessary and suburbs sprang like fungi across the unfruited plain.

Donrae Moore (left) placed her son Skyler (to her left) on the waiting list for state-funded services for the developmentally disabled. The family is still waiting for those services.
Clifton Adcock / Oklahoma Watch

Ten years is a long time to wait for state help to improve the care of a developmentally disabled child or other relative.

But that is the current wait time for assistance for Oklahoma families seeking state-paid special-needs services. The Oklahoma Department of Human Services reports more than 7,200 households are on the list; the estimated waiting time for more than half is six years.

Brad Collins, of nonprofit addiction recovery center 12&12, said an alternative to jail provided by 12&12 would help both those with alcoholism and those who need to sleep off a one-night party.
Clifton Adcock / Oklahoma Watch

Each year, 3,000 to 4,000 people are booked into Tulsa’s David L. Moss Correctional Center, the county jail, on complaints of public intoxication.

Some are chronic alcoholics. Others went out for a good time and had too much to drink, said Tulsa Police Department Maj. Travis Yates.

The Science Of Mindfulness And Meditation

Oct 22, 2015

Here & Now spoke yesterday with Andy Puddicombe, the one-time Buddhist monk turned entrepreneur whose Headspace meditation app has been downloaded millions of times around the world. Yes, there is an app for that, and it’s good for people with any level of meditating experience. The app includes meditations for when you’re cooking, running, or even having a melt-down. It’s huge in Silicon Valley.

British-born Andy Puddicombe spent 10 years studying in Buddhist monasteries in India, Nepal and Burma, and then another three in a Tibetan monastery in England. So why is his name now synonymous with Silicon Valley? Puddicombe found a way to combine his passion for mindfulness and meditation with a technology that can bring it would-be-meditators around the world.