Health Care Reform

On this edition of StudioTulsa Medical Monday, we run a status check, so to speak, on the Affordable Care Act, both here in our state and nationwide. The ACA, or "Obamacare," which became law in 2010 -- and which really started to take effect in 2014 -- will hold its fourth cycle of "open enrollment" in November. "Open enrollment" is when participants think about renewing their health insurance, making changes to their coverage, and/or buying such coverage for the first time.

(Note: This interview originally aired back in January.) What if you had an app on your smartphone that could tell precisely how much a certain medical procedure was going to cost...before you even visited the doctor or called your health insurance company? Sounds like a rather great (and overdue) idea, no? Such an app is in development these days, right here in our community. On this edition of StudioTulsa Medical Monday, guest host John Schumann speaks with Matt Scovil and Nathan Gilchrist, the two co-founders of a company called Medefy.

On this edition of ST, we are joined by Craig Jones, who is President of the Oklahoma Hospital Association. Given the recent cuts in both Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement, large cuts in federal reimbursement costs for uninsured patients, as well as ongoing transformations in standards of care, medical technology, and qualitative outcomes, times are tough these days for hospitals, especially rural hospitals. Nationwide, 673 rural hospitals are considered "on the edge" -- and here in Oklahoma, it's estimated that more than three dozen rural hospitals are facing a troubled future.

On this installment of StudioTulsa on Health, we learn about Health Care Without Harm, an international coalition of hospitals, health care systems, medical professionals, environmental health organizations, and similar groups. This coalition was formed in 1996, shortly after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency identified medical waste incineration as the leading source of dioxin emissions in this country.

What if you had an app on your smartphone that could tell precisely how much a certain medical procedure was going to cost...before you even visited the doctor or called your health insurance company? Sounds like a rather great (and overdue) idea, no? Such an app is very much in development these days, right here in our community. On this edition of StudioTulsa on Health, guest host John Schumann speaks with Matt Scovil and Nathan Gilchrist, the two co-founders of a company called Medefy.

On this edition of StudioTulsa on Health, we learn about a non-profit called WellOK, which was formed in 2014, and which bills itself as "the Northeastern Oklahoma Business Coalition on Health." It's a coalition of 17 locally based organizations, including businesses large and small that purchase healthcare as well as government and philanthropic organizations.

On this edition of ST, an interesting exit interview with John W. Silva; the CEO of Morton Comprehensive Health Services here in Tulsa will leave this post next month to assume a similar job in his native Massachusetts. Silva has been at the helm of Morton since 2010. Under his leadership, it has expanded from its North Tulsa headquarters to additional locations in Bartlesville and west Tulsa and has moreover become Oklahoma's only community health center-based teaching facility.

KWGS News

There are more than 630-thousand Oklahomans without medical insurance coverage. It impacts those that do have insurance, and the issue is a major topic discussed at a health care forum in Tulsa today. President of the Oklahoma Hospital Association, Craig Jones, says in 2013 hospitals in the state gave over $550-million in care to those without insurance. He says that cost has to be shifted, so it’s borne by those with insurance and companies that privately insure their employees.

On this episode of StudioTulsa on Health, guest host Dr. John Schumann speaks with reporter April Dembosky, who covers health care issues and medical news for public-radio station KQED in San Francisco (and also for NPR, on occasion). Dembosky recently participated in a segment on NPR's Weekend All Things Considered that carried the headline "Calif.

At the end of 2014, a surprising announcement appeared in the Tulsa World. A subsequent news item expanding on this announcement had the following headline: "Morton Clinics Won't Accept New Uninsured Patients, Citing State Cuts to Funding." Morton Comprehensive Health Services -- with clinics in Tulsa, Nowata, and Bartlesville -- is one of Northeastern Oklahoma's leading providers of health care for uninsured patients.

On this edition of StudioTulsa on Health, guest host John Schumann speaks with Dr. Donald Berwick, President Emeritus and Senior Fellow at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. A pediatrician by background, Dr. Berwick is also a former Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and he has served on the faculties of the Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health, as well as the staffs of Boston's Children's Hospital Medical Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, and the Brigham and Women's Hospital.

On this edition of ST on Health, guest host John Schumann speaks with Tracy Davenport, a self-described "health care coordinator" --- basically, this means she's a freelance case manager who works to help patients and/or their families navigate today's ever-more-complicated medical system. It's often about being a good listener and asking lots of questions, says Davenport, who's had many years of experience as a registered nurse.

On this edition of StudioTulsa on Health, guest host John Henning Schumann speaks with Dr. Jack Sommers, chief medical officer for CommunityCare, the Tulsa-based medical insurance firm that's owned and operated by Saint Francis Hospital and St. John Medical Center. (This company began as CommunityCare HMO in 1993; you can read a full history for CommunityCare here.) In an interesting and wide-ranging discussion, Dr.

On this installment of StudioTulsa on Health, our guest host, Dr. John Henning Schumann, chats with John Silva, CEO of Morton Comprehensive Health Services, a non-profit organization which dates back to 1921 --- it first came into being as Maurice Willows Hospital, when it was created by the American Red Cross in the immediate wake of the Tulsa Race Riot --- and which is now one of Oklahoma's largest community health centers.

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — An Oklahoma Board of Health member has resigned — saying he did so because of Governor Mary Fallin's decision not to accept federal funding to expand the state's Medicaid program.

Glenn Davis told the Tulsa World on Friday that it "doesn't make any sense" that Fallin would reject the funding. He says the money would help Oklahomans who have no insurance.

State of Oklahoma-File Photo

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Governor Mary Fallin is delaying a decision on whether the state will set up its own health insurance exchange or allow a federal model to be established in Oklahoma.

Fallin's office announced Friday the Republican governor decided to delay her decision after the federal government extended the deadline for states to provide notice if they plan to set up an exchange, which is an online health insurance marketplace where people can shop for coverage.

The decision last month by the U.S. Supreme Court upholding the Affordable Car Act (or ACA) has opened up new avenues of opposition --- or, as some states would have it, new grounds on which to reject the law. In its momentous decision, the Court said basically that any state could opt out of the law's expansion of Medicaid with no penalties to its existing programs. Under the ACA, the federal government will help states expand their coverage of Medicaid patients to 133% of the poverty line.

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Members of Oklahoma's U.S. House delegation, including the lone Democrat, have voted for a resolution to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Congressman Dan Boren joined fellow U.S. Representatives Tom Cole, James Lankford, Frank Lucas and John Sullivan, all Republicans, in passing HR 6079, which would repeal the law in its entirety. Boren was among five U.S. House Democrats who voted for the resolution on Wednesday.

Some 185 House members voted against the measure.

KWGS News File Photo

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — More than a week after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the sweeping federal health care law, Oklahoma's political leaders have offered few specifics about how the state will proceed in complying with its provisions.

Members of the Republican-controlled Legislature were quick to issue press releases condemning the high court's decision. Some have vowed to continue fighting implementation of the law in Oklahoma.