Oklahoma Moving Forward with Health Improvement Agenda

Article excerpt

The Oklahoma State Board of Health wasted little time in responding to a national report showing Oklahoma as one of the unhealthiest states in the nation. Now only time will tell just how Oklahoma will fare in future rankings.

Among the changes approved by the board was a resolution calling for a "smoke-free" Oklahoma that would request legislative removal of the provisions allowing for smoke rooms in restaurants. The resolution also recommends removal of any statutes that prevent local governments from attempting to further prevent youth access to tobacco or exposure to secondhand smoke.

Also adopted were rules regarding immunity to personal liability for charitable health care providers. The rules were the result of actions taken by the Legislature earlier this year.

Health Secretary Mike Crutcher also presented a model for the future as part of a state health plan. The suggestions included focus on prevention, access to health care, quality of health care and cost control, equity addressing health disparities, and work force development.

The State Department of Health also released the 2007 State of the State's Health Report, which offered numerous recommendations to benefit the future of Oklahoma. Those included the following:

* provide effective sex education for youth.

* grant paid maternity leave for working mothers.

* use effective support programs for vulnerable parents.

* make health care available for all children.

* enhance the graduation rates from high school and college and decrease the poverty rate.

* develop a system for mandating effective and cost-effective prevention measures within our health care and health protection systems. …

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