HPPR Health, Education & Welfare

Health

‐state policy‐impact of federal policy‐rural health care delivery‐access & availability

Education

‐state policy‐programs and opportunities‐access & availability

Welfare

‐state policies‐income levels‐wellness‐quality of life

Novartis AG / Flickr Creative Commons

This week, a Texas resident caught Zika in Florida and brought it home, according to health officials in Texas. This means Zika's now spreading from state to state, reports NBC News.

This is just more evidence that, once the disease infects people in an area, it can easily spread. The traveler picked up the disease in Miami, where 30 cases have been reported. However, there's no evidence the virus is spreading in Florida like it has across Latin America.

oklahomawatch.org

A Tulsa World story about rural poverty in Oklahoma has been garnering a good deal of attention over the past week and a half. Nationwide, poverty is more of an issue for rural dwellers than urban Americans.

Fifteen percent of the rural U.S. population lives in poverty, compared to 12 percent of the urban population.

Wikimedia Commons

In some parts of rural America, the shortage of mental health professionals has reached crisis level. Yet many states still refuse to support mental health through tax dollars. Experts say America today needs more than 30,000 child and adolescent psychiatrists. Yet the country has fewer than a third of that number, And the need is rising, reports The Rural Blog.

Patrick Michels / Texas Observer

After decades of being restricted, abortion access is on the rise again in Texas, reports The Texas Observer.

Rural Blog

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently drew criticism for releasing ratings of almost 4,000 hospitals nationwide. The hospital industry objected that the rankings were unfair and overly simplistic.

Topeka Capital-Journal

This week Kansas’s education commissioner lamented the state’s graduation rate. Commissioner Randy Watson said Kansas must work with students and families to improve high school graduation rates, reports The Topeka Capital-Journal.

University of Houston/KHOU

College can be extremely isolating and stressful. Some students begin drinking too much or turn to drugs, and some even consider suicide. When Texas students find themselves in dire straits, their options are limited.

The counseling centers at Texas universities are understaffed. According to KERA News and The Texas Tribune, many counselors say they’re frustrated by their inability to reach students.

smartasset.com

Oklahoma and Texas residents are among the worst drivers in the US, according to a new study. As SmartAsset.com reports, the Lone Star State has the ninth worst drivers in America. Meanwhile, Oklahoma fared even worse, ranking third.

Texas has the highest percentage of deaths coming from drunk drivers, at 40%.

Lucas Jackson / Reuters

Colorado is rated as America’s leanest state. But that honor seems to stem from the health attitudes of some of the wealthier parts of the state. In towns like Pueblo, obesity is a real problem. Pueblo’s obesity rate reached 30% in 2014. That’s nine percent higher than the state average.

Pixabay / Creative Commons

A company that delivers blood and medicine using drone technology is looking to expand its operations across the US, reports Consumerist.com. This could be great news for many Americans who live in rural and hard-to-reach areas.

thrombocyte.com

The Oklahoma Blood Institute says there’s a simple way that Oklahomans can help victims of trauma in their state. More than any other factor, the institute says it’s important to increase the state’s supply of O-negative blood.

As KFOR reports, O-negative blood allows emergency personnel to start blood transfusions during transport to the hospital. This increases a trauma victim’s chance of survival.

Gotog / Getty Images

Rural schools have had their share of struggles in recent years. Populations in the heartland are dwindling, and school funding often goes to more populous schools in large urban centers.

feedthechildren.org

It’s no secret that Oklahoma’s public education system has faced some critical challenges in recent years. Luckily, Feed The Children and its corporate sponsors like Whataburger are well aware of the struggles of Oklahoma’s teachers.

CC BY-SA 2.0 fr/Wikipedia

In recent years, the Texas Legislature has mounted an aggressive push to defund Planned Parenthood. The effort reached an impasse last month when the US Supreme Court struck down a Texas effort to close many clinics in the state.

Now the women’s health organization has received more good news. Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas has received a $2 million donation to fund birth control to low-income residents, reports New York magazine.

Darko Stojanovic / Creative Commons

In Colorado, there’s no way for hospitals and care centers to know if the doctor they hire has a criminal record. That is, the doctor or nurse is expected to personally divulge the information. Otherwise, no background check requirement is in place.

This sets Colorado apart from most other states, reports The Denver Post. In fact, 45 of the 50 state medical boards require criminal background checks to license a caregiver.

Joel Martinez / AP photo

Over the past seven years Colorado has nearly halved its teen birth rate.  Texas, too, has seen its teen birth rate decline, just like most of the US. But if you look closer at these two states, some stark differences emerge.

Colorado is ranked 18th lowest in teen birth rates nationally. Texas is 46th.

Colorado’s has 20 births per 1,000 teenage girls. That’s below the national average of 22. Meanwhile, Texas sees 38 births per 1,000 teenage girls—almost double the rate of Colorado.

Bryan Thompson / Heartland Health Monitor

Rural Americans are benefitting greatly from the Affordable Care Act, according to a new study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In fact, rural citizens are gaining health insurance coverage faster than their urban counterparts, as member station KMUW reports. 

This is especially striking given that two-thirds of uninsured rural people live in states like Kansas and Texas that have not expanded Medicaid eligibility.

KFOR.com

The insect that transmits the Zika virus is known as the Aedes aegypti mosquito. And now that particular breed of mosquito has been discovered in southwest Oklahoma, reports KFOR.

The insect was found after the Oklahoma State Department of Health began a collaborative mosquito surveillance project with Oklahoma State University. Entomologists detected the mosquitoes in six different Oklahoma communities.

KFOR.com

The insect that transmits the Zika virus is known as the Aedes aegypti mosquito. And now that particular breed of mosquito has been discovered in southwest Oklahoma, reports KFOR.

The insect was found after the Oklahoma State Department of Health began a collaborative mosquito surveillance project with Oklahoma State University. Entomologists detected the mosquitoes in six different Oklahoma communities.

Medicare.gov

Last week the Federal Government released its ratings for nearly 5,000 hospitals across the United States, reports The Rural Blog. Hospitals are rated from one to five stars, and the news wasn’t great. Only 102 institutions hospitals, or 2.2 percent, earned five stars.

Daily Beast

Colorado’s recreational marijuana amendment went into effect two years ago. Since then, Marijuana-related emergency room visits for children under 10 have increased dramatically, reports the Daily Beast.

Sarah Crabill / Getty Images

The STAAR test will live on to fight another day, reports Texas Monthly. The State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness program is the standardized test by which Texas students are measured. A state commission was expected to totally scrap the controversial tests during a meeting last week. Instead, the panel decided to strike down a recommendation to replace the test. Some smaller changes were proposed, however.

MPR

The risk of HIV outbreaks in rural and suburban communities has increased in recent years. The rise can be attributed to the prescription drug abuse epidemic in the US, reports EMPR.com. When rural residents are forced to share syringes, transmission of HIV increases rapidly.

Trevor Brown / Oklahoma Watch

The number of homeless students in Oklahoma has soared by 55 percent over a period of just four years, according to Oklahoma Watch. As of 2015 the number stood at almost 28,000 homeless students in the state. Of that number, about 1,600 were live in unsheltered locations like cars, parks, campgrounds and abandoned buildings. The rest are “doubling up,” meaning they’re runaways or unaccompanied youths living with relatives or friends.

Duncan Banner

Tobacco sales to minors have doubled in Oklahoma over the past four years, reports The Duncan Banner.

The rise in sales was detected by more retailers selling tobacco products to undercover minors during random checks throughout the state. This year’s non-compliance rate of 14 percent is more than twice the seven percent recorded only four years ago.

CNN

Pot dispensaries aren’t allowed in the tiny town of Hugo, Colorado. But the active ingredient in Marijuana has still found a way into the city limits. Tetrahydrocannabinol, better known as THC, has been found in the town's water supply, reports CNN.

http://www.news9.com

There's an initiative on the ballot this November to increase the sales tax by a penny on the dollar. All  those pennies will go toward improving the state's beleaguered education system. Much of the money would go to teacher raises.

High Plains Food Bank

High Plains Food Bank  is in crucial need of financial donations, reports MyHighPlains.com.

The food bank is asking for money to prevent a $300,000 summertime shortfall. The bank is traditionally known for collecting cans. But this summer they’re asking for monetary donations.

High Plains Food Bank

High Plains Food Bank  is in crucial need of financial donations, reports MyHighPlains.com.

The food bank is asking for money to prevent a $300,000 summertime shortfall. The bank is traditionally known for collecting cans. But this summer they’re asking for monetary donations.

Ben Fenwick / Oklahoma Watch

Oklahoma’s inmate population is growing far too fast, according to News OK. Since 1980, the state’s prison population grew 14 times faster than the state's adult population. In that period the number of people in Oklahoma prisons increased 485 percent.

The problem was brought into stark relief this month when an inmate at a facility in Stringtown was stabbed to death. The assault occurred in in a day room that ordinarily would be used for leisure. Instead, the room was loaded with 52 bunk beds.

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