Health Initiatives Announced in State of the State
During the first day of Legislative Session Monday, February 6, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin laid out her requests of the Legislature and perspectives on the State of the State. Health related items were a significant component of her speech. The Governor stated, “Healthy living is important, not just because we want Oklahomans to live full and happy lives, but because the effects of unhealthy life choices hurt our economy, drain taxpayer dollars and drive up the cost of health care for everyone,” and cited several health conditions/factors such as diabetes, obesity, and lack of exercise as being major components of the state’s poor health condition. In regard to the state’s health ranking of 48th in the nation, she stated, “That’s unacceptable.” Therefore, the Governor included in her plans:
- Over $3 million in the 2013 Executive Budget [3.29MB] to establish 40 new doctor residency slots to help increase the number of primary care physicians in rural and underserved areas in Oklahoma.
- Signing an Executive Order to ban tobacco on all state property;
- Transforming the smoking room at the State Capitol into a fitness centers in partnership with the Oklahoma Hospital Association;
- Financial incentives for schools to provide more nutritious foods;
- Recommending limiting liability for schools that communities may use fitness-related facilities of public schools;
- Dollars to support the State’s infant mortality prevention program;
- Support for Smart on Crime to provide substance abuse treatment options for non-violent offenders;
- Financial support for Department of Mental Health crisis centers; and
- Supplemental funding for full health benefits of Oklahoma teachers.
Tue, February 7, 2012