Having been raised in Elk City, America, I can say there are many great things about living in rural Oklahoma. It's nice to look up at the sky at night and see stars. The only time you’re stuck in a traffic jam is when your neighbor is moving his tractor down the road. The cops are always some friend’s older brother. However, there are a few little things that make life in rural Oklahoma a bummer. Like, for example, the occasional lack of health care resources.
CORDELL, Oklahoma - The CEO of Cordell Memorial Hospital in Western Oklahoma says he hasn’t been able to hire a much-needed doctor, because nobody wants to come there.
Landon Hise says the solution to the problem is House Bill 1013, which Hise says is currently stuck in a Senate committee. Hise says the bill would allow nurse practitioners full authority to practice medicine.
“Oklahoma ranks 49th in physician to patient ratio, and 76 out of 77 counties are considered a primary carrier shortage area,” he said. “And this would eliminate that.”
Now, I’m not a doctor, nor do I play one on T.V. But I do think you’d have to be in some pretty dire straights to extend medical authority to non-doctors. As of last year, Greer County in Western Oklahoma had zero primary care physicians. But some lawmakers don’t think House Bill 1013 is the way to go about fixing this.
State Senator Irven Yen is also a highly-respected anesthesiologist in Oklahoma City. Tuesday he told News 9 “I don’t think we should allow someone who has not gone to medical school do what doctors do,” he said.
So if this bill isn’t going to solve the rural healthcare crisis, something else has to be done. In the meantime, here are five ways rural Oklahomans can care for their health!
Lay off the meth
I know them doctor folk have been telling you this for years. So just give it a shot for kicks and giggles.
Get added to a prayer chain
I grew up with one Pentecostal grandma and one catholic grandma. You could not have more than two consecutive sneezes before your full name, date of birth, and deepest secrets were posted in church bulletins all over western Oklahoma pleading for the blood of Christ to rebuke the devil or whatever pollen was particularly high that day. Now that I’m an adult, I can say it was a combination of prayer chains and allergy shots that cured me of my ailments.
Get a medical degree
It’s probably cheaper in the long run to go to medical school and treat yourself than it is to pay for so many ambulance rides to bigger cities.
Studies suggest that when you cuss, you may have a decrease in pain. Therefore dropping the occasional $%#@ or @*#$ may help relieve some of the symptoms you can’t get treatment for. Practice by first calling your local lawmaker’s office.
Move to the metro
The only healthcare option for many rural Oklahomans is to go to Oklahoma City for treatment. Save yourself the two hour ambulance ride and move to the metro.
Hayley is in no way qualified to give medical advice. She is barely qualified to operate a computer. Don’t do anything she says. Except follow her on twitter @squirrellygeek