Next week, Together Oklahoma will bring together another panel of experts to discuss one of the pressing issues facing our state. This time, the event will focus on health care.
From 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 18, at the Ardmore Convention Center, local experts will be joined by others from across the state to discuss the issues surrounding health care reform in the state and how they think it should look. The panel will be composed of Cathy Elmore, office administrator for Dr. Forrestal, Jessica Pfau, executive director of Lighthouse Behavioral Wellness Center, Carly Putnam, health care analyst for the Oklahoma Policy Institute, Dr. Henry Ramirez, OB/GYN at Southern Oklahoma Women’s Health, and Val Schott, a senior consultant for rural hospitals.
Kyle Lawson, southeast field organizer for Together Oklahoma, described the event.
“It’s going to be extremely similar to the Criminal Justice Forum we held last month,” Lawson said. “Our chapter lead, Roxanne Logan, is a genius the way she set all this up. First she held the Criminal Justice Forum where they talked about the impact of mental health on the criminal justice system, and now she’s created the Health Care Forum that will touch on mental health issues in Oklahoma. So this shows one of the pipelines that we’ve created that leads directly into the prison system, and now we’re discussing how we can shut that pipeline off.”
Lawson said other topics covered will include the number of uninsured in the state, funding for rural hospitals, and Medicare expansion.
“In Oklahoma, more than 100,000 working-age adults do not have access to insurance,” Lawson said. “Oklahoma’s uninsured rate is among the highest within the nation but with healthcare expansion we can fix both of those issues.”
Lawson said the purpose of the forum is to educate citizens about the issues and make sure they are communicating with their legislators.
“One of the biggest issues we have is the disconnect between the voters and what is going on at the state Capitol,” Lawson said. “We’ve become so nationalized that we forget there are things going on in our own state, and we need to be a part of that process and the conversation.”
Together Oklahoma’s Health Care Forum is free and open to the public. However, Swadley’s will be catering the event so there will be a $15 charge for anyone that wants to eat dinner. To reserve your space visit https://www.facebook.com/TogetherOklahoma. On the left side of the page click the events tab, and from there you can get your free ticket or pay for your meal. Lawson said people who want to eat at the event can also email ardmore@togetheroklahoma.org and pay at the event.