By Congressman Markwayne Mullin
Flu season is in full swing and it will continue for several more weeks. Every year, millions of people in the United States get sick from the flu and other flu-related illnesses. The flu can turn into a serious illness resulting in hospitalization and even death if not properly treated. During the 2018-2019 season, 16.5 million people went to a doctor for the flu and more than 34,000 people died in the U.S. There are several things you can do to protect yourself and others.
The most important way to prevent the flu is to get a flu vaccine, but unfortunately only 45 percent of adults get a flu vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that individuals 6 months of age and older get vaccinated. It reduces the risk of getting sick from the flu and helps prevent other flu-related illnesses. People who are considered high risk, like young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions, and people 65 or older, should especially make sure they get the vaccination to reduce their risk.
You should also take steps to stop the spread of germs during flu season. Stay home if you are sick and limit your contact with others as much as possible. Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Make sure to wash your hands often, cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze and clean objects and surfaces that may have germs on them.
Nobody likes getting sick with the flu. These small actions that you can take every day will go a long way to help protect you and others from getting sick.
By State Rep. Lundy Kiger
There are many public issues we need to review in LeFlore County to help improve our quality of life and create a safer future for everyone. To make real progress on any social issues, however, we must review these problems together, as a county of communities and professionals. No families are safe from any problems related to drug use, legal medication over use, alcoholism, teen pregnancy and especially with the mental health issues that follow or accompany many of these social problems.
The most calls I receive on a weekly basis are undoubtedly related to mental health. There are two concerns I have when someone calls with a family member needing an evaluation and treatment for mental health, and that’s the fact that the state is limited on available beds to take in new patients, and those who deal with mental health problems and break the law tend to be put in jail with little or no chance of receiving the needed treatment for their illness. In other words, they are put in jail where they waste away.
I’m currently working with over 30 people, agencies and health care professionals to develop a comprehensive list of options for anyone who experiences mental health issues that will destroy lives if not treated. This group of people also will include our law enforcement officials because they are one of the top groups hit with the responsibility of taking care of these patients despite law enforcement not being designed or structured to care for mental health patients.
At the end of February, we will develop a list of options and providers designed to help those who have or who don’t have insurance with the goal of getting anyone and everyone the help they need as quickly as possible.
In early March, we will have all of the information put on a one-page written form, and we’ll work to get this out to as many people as possible to help our county people to be better prepared if they have a loved one in need of treatment.
For the Children: A Weekly Column by Joe Dorman, CEO – OICA
Now that the 2020 session of the Oklahoma Legislature is underway, we have a better idea of measures we as child advocates must support and those about which we must be cautious.
Normally there are 149 lawmakers, 101 state representatives and 48 state senators. There are currently two vacancies, one in the House of Representatives and one in the Senate. The 147 left were busy, filing 2,243 new bills for this year. Combined with the those still alive from last year, lawmakers have more than 4,500 bills bouncing around the State Capitol that could be considered.
The good news is only a small number will make it to Governor Kevin Stitt’s desk to be signed into law or vetoed. Groups like the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy monitor these bills, providing insight to lawmakers as the bills work through the Legislature.
Several hundred child-related bills were filed. OICA will send out notices each Monday about which bills are coming up in committees during the week. If you want to get those notices, along with “action alerts” for high-priority bills, go to our website at www.oica.org and sign up for our newsletter. You will get legislative alerts and our weekly newsletter sent each Thursday at 2 p.m.
The issue of health care, which affects us all but especially children and seniors, will be a hot topic this year. Thousands of Oklahomans signed a petition saying they want to vote on Medicaid expansion for low-income Oklahomans. The governor proposed an alternative, signing on to a Trump Administration program to give block grants to states instead of the guaranteed coverage the initiative petition would create.
OICA will watch both proposals as one side waits for the governor to set a date for the election and the governor’s plan is considered by lawmakers. We hope to set up a forum for this discussion with experts who discuss both plans and the benefits and drawbacks of each.
The Oklahoma Municipal League’s Congress of Mayors met last week, passing resolutions on a pair of issues important to OICA. The first is on the upcoming census on April 1; mayors pledged to increase awareness on the census, to help ensure everyone is counted.
The mayors also voted to encourage state lawmakers to enact policies to reduce Adverse Childhood Experiences or “ACEs.” This reflects OICA strongest position as reducing ACEs is the best way to improve Oklahoma’s standing on child wellbeing; OICA is grateful for the mayors’ support.
Finally this week, thank you to Governor and First Lady Stitt for hosting a benefit dinner at the Governor’s Mansion for OICA’s efforts. Each year, OICA auctions “Dinner with the First Family” at our Heroes Ball. Tom Rosser was the winning bidder and we are grateful for his generosity. It was an enjoyable evening with conversation about issues important to Oklahomans.
This year’s Heroes Ball is July 31. Mark your calendar as this is one of the best events supporting Oklahoma’s children; we would love for you to join us as we all work to make our state a better place for children and families.
About OICA: The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy was established in 1983 by a group of citizens seeking to create a strong advocacy network that would provide a voice for the needs of children and youth in Oklahoma, particularly those in the state’s care and those growing up amid poverty, violence, abuse and neglect, disparities, or other situations that put their lives and future at risk. Our mission statement: “Creating awareness, taking action and changing policy to improve the health, safety and well-being of Oklahoma’s children.”
Your Oklahoma State Department of Health Subscriptions
Oklahoma earns D in Smokefree Air, Lung Association calls on state officials to pass a comprehensive statewide smokefree law.
OKLAHOMA CITY - [EMBARGOED UNTIL: 11:01 p.m. CST, January 28, 2020] – Today, the American Lung Association released the 18th annual “State of Tobacco Control” report, which finds that in 2019 Oklahoma earned failing grades on its efforts to reduce and prevent tobacco use, including e-cigarettes. The American Lung Association finds opportunities in 2020 for Oklahoma officials to take action and pass a comprehensive smokefree law in order to support public health and save lives in 2020.
The need for Oklahoma to take action to protect youth from all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, is more urgent than ever, with the youth vaping epidemic continuing its alarming rise to 27.5% or more than one in four high school students. This is a staggering 135% increase in high school e-cigarette use in just the past two years, and close to three million more kids started vaping in that time period, setting them up for a lifetime of addiction.
“In Oklahoma, our tobacco use rates remain at 28.6%. Sadly, with the youth vaping epidemic still rising, we may have lost an opportunity to make the current generation of kids the first tobacco-free generation. Tobacco use is a serious addiction and Oklahoma needs to implement the proven measures to prevent and reduce tobacco use outlined in ‘State of Tobacco Control’,” said JoAnna Strother, advocacy senior director for the Lung Association.
The 18th annual “State of Tobacco Control” report grades states and the federal government on policies proven to prevent and reduce tobacco use, and finds that elected officials should do more to save lives and ensure all Oklahoma residents benefit from reductions in tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke.
• Funding for State Tobacco Prevention Programs – Grade D
• Strength of Smokefree Workplace Laws - Grade D
• Level of State Tobacco Taxes - Grade D
• Coverage and Access to Services to Quit Tobacco - Grade D
• Minimum Age of Sale for Tobacco Products to 21 – Grade F
The American Lung Association encourages Oklahoma to put in place all the public policies called for in “State of Tobacco Control,” and in particular, this year’s report noted the need to focus on passing a comprehensive smokefree law. The U.S. Surgeon General has concluded there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke. If Oklahoma passed a comprehensive smokefree law that eliminates smoking in all public places and workplaces, including restaurants, bars and casinos, workers across the state would be protected from deadly secondhand smoke. E-cigarettes should also be included in comprehensive smokefree laws. This health protection would benefit everyone and is especially critical for those who work in the service and manufacturing sectors who are often exposed to secondhand smoke and e-cigarette aerosol daily. “Opportunities for better health begin where people work, live and play, and a person should not have to be exposed to the dangers of secondhand smoke so that they could afford to put food on the table,” said Strother.
One powerful tool to address the youth vaping epidemic is increasing the minimum age of sale for tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, to 21. The U.S. Congress finished off 2019 with a huge victory passing a federal law to increase the national tobacco sales age to 21. This law will ensure that all states have a sales age of 21 in 2020. Virtually all adult smokers had their first cigarette before age 21, and most before the age of 18.
However, Congress failed to pass legislation to eliminate all flavored tobacco products, making the need for state action to end the sale of all flavored products critical. Massachusetts took that historic step by prohibiting the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes in November 2019, becoming the first such state to do so. The Lung Association urges more states to follow Massachusetts’ lead and pass comprehensive laws eliminating flavored tobacco products in 2020.
The question remains, will 2020 be the year that public health is prioritized over tobacco product manufacturers so that another generation is spared the addiction to dangerous tobacco products? As the result of successful lawsuits filed by the American Lung Association and several public health partners, FDA will be required to take several important and long overdue actions to protect the public health from tobacco products in 2020. These include finalizing graphic warning labels on all cigarette packs by March 15, and requiring all e-cigarette, and most cigar, hookah, pipe and other manufacturers of deemed products to submit applications to FDA by May 12, 2020 to remain on the market in the U.S.
For media interested in speaking with an expert about the “State of Tobacco Control” report, lung health, tobacco use and tobacco control policies, contact the American Lung Association at or 312-445-2501.
About the American Lung Association
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.
American Lung Association
1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) Lung.org
The public is invited to a Grand Opening of Dr Jones Medical office in Spiro.d. Marcella P Jones is a Family Medical Doctor opening her practice in Spiro.
Dr Jones received her medical degree from Chicago College of Osteopathic Mediccine and has bee in practice for over 25 years.
Her grand opening will be held on Monday February 3, 2020.
Her office is located at 701 W Broadway in Spiro.
If looking for a new physician contact her office at 479.561.1108.
As many of you know, this past year, a piece of EOMC family was taken from us far too early. Don M. Goforth, IT Manager at EOMC, passed away on August 11, 2019 as a result of brain cancer.
Don was a brilliant young man with a passion for his family, the IT profession and the fire service. Don was a firefighter for the Poteau Fire Department for 10 years, having attained the rank of Captain at the time of his death.
Don was only 37 years old.
As a lasting memory of Don’s dedication to EOMC and the fire service, the Don M. Goforth Project has been established in hopes that no more firefighters, young or old, will be taken from their family and community as a result of undiagnosed cancer.
Firefighting is an inherently dangerous occupation, whether career or volunteer. The number one cause of firefighter deaths since the 1990s is cancer. It has been proven that early detection of cancer is paramount in increasing the survival rate of the patient.
Eastern Oklahoma Medical Center is committed to providing the opportunity of early detection to every active and retired firefighter in LeFlore County, Oklahoma.
Eastern Oklahoma Medical Center, in cooperation with Diagnostic Imaging Associates, will provide screening CT scans of the head, chest, abdomen and pelvis to any active or retired firefighter in LeFlore County for $150.00 (unless medical contraindicated).
• The firefighter’s medical provider will order the CT scans.
• These scans can only be performed every 3 years in
order to not expose the firefighter to excessive radiation.
• These scans do not require IV access, radioactive
contrast to be administered and are 100% painless.
• The scans will be read by the radiologist at DIA and
reported to the firefighter’s medical provider of record.
The following restrictions will apply to all firefighters that request the scans:
• The firefighter must be an active or retired member of the Oklahoma Firefighter Pension System or the Volunteer Firefighter Association of Oklahoma.
• The firefighter must present identification that verifies that membership at the time that the CT Scans are performed.
• The $150.00 charge must be paid in advance of the scans.
• All CT Scans will be scheduled in advance with the Radiology Department at EOMC. Testing will be performed Monday through Friday, between 8am and 5pm.
Questions? Give EOMC a call at 918-635-3590.
The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH), Oklahoma State Medical Association, Oklahoma City-County Health Department and Tulsa Health Department have joined efforts to increase awareness regarding influenza disease symptoms, complications and treatment; the importance of flu vaccination and other flu-prevention measures.
With many weeks of the flu season remaining, the number of flu-associated hospitalizations and deaths are expected to increase. Flu shots are encouraged for all individuals over the age of 6 months. Officials are encouraging the vaccine for youth who may be impacted more severely by flu symptoms. Children ages 6 months to 8 years old who have never had a flu vaccination will need two shots administered at least 28 days apart. Flu shots also are encouraged for those over the age of 65, those who have chronic heart and lung conditions and for pregnant women.
As part of the ongoing prevention efforts, county health departments around the state are offering increased access to flu vaccines the last week of January. In preparation for this flu season, county health departments received ample supplies of flu vaccine, including the Vaccines for Children (VFC), which are provided at no cost to children ages 18 and under who are eligible for Medicaid, Native American/Alaskan Native, or are uninsured or underinsured. Health departments and medical providers also have vaccines for all ages and the high-dose flu vaccine for those over the age of 65. Oklahomans who are not eligible for Medicaid can receive the flu vaccine at their county health department or physician’s office.
In effort to provide flu shots at a convenient time for families, the Oklahoma City-County Health Department and Tulsa Health Department will offer extended hours for the dates and locations listed below:
OKC-County Health Department
2600 NE 63rd
6728 S Hudson Ave.
Jan. 28 and 30, 4:30-6:30 p.m.
Tulsa Health Department
James O. Goodwin Health Center
5051 S. 129th East Ave.
Jan. 30 – Clinic will remain open until 6 p.m.
Additionally, the OSDH and its partners are working to increase awareness about flu prevention and symptoms through social media and community outreach.
While the flu shot may not be 100 percent effective in preventing the flu, health and medical professionals say it offers the best protection and plays a vital role in reducing flu-associated hospitalizations and deaths. A study from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates the flu vaccination prevented 6.2 million illnesses, 3.2 million medical visits, 91,000 hospitalizations and 5,700 deaths during the 2017-2018 influenza season.
Symptoms of the flu include fever, body aches, fatigue and chills. In addition to getting the flu shot, it is important to practice frequent hand washing and prevent the spread of flu and other illnesses by staying home from public gatherings until one is able to go 24 hours without a fever, and without fever-reducing medication.
For more information about getting a flu shot, contact a health care provider or visit our website to find a county health department in your area.
Eastern Oklahoma Medical Center will be hosting in conjunction with the Alzheimer’s Association, a 6-month education series to increase awareness and equip people with information about Alzheimer’s and other dementias.
These sessions are Lunch and Learns and are also free and open to the public.
Topics of Discussion are:
Dementia Conversations – Friday, January 17th @11:30am-1:00pm
10 Warning signs of Alzheimer’s – Friday, February 21st @ 11:30am-1:00pm
Understanding Alzheimer’s & Dementia- Friday, March 20th @11:30am-1:00pm
Effective Communication Strategies- Friday April 17th @ 11:30am-1:00pm
Understanding & Responding to Dementia related behaviors – Friday, May 15th @11:30am-1:00pm
Healthy Living for your brain & body: tips from the latest research- Friday June 19th @ 11:30am-1:00pm
Do you have questions? Give EOMC call at 918-635-3581.
Come and see the EOMC Difference.