News Release

June 28, 2012

OHCA Contacts: Jo Kilgore - (405) 522-7474, Carter Kimble - (405) 522-7510

Campaign Begins Airing Messages On OETA About Good Health For Kids

The Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA) has joined forces with Smart Start Oklahoma and OETA-TV to create a series of messages highlighting the importance of good health and regular medical checkups for young children.

“The Oklahoma Health Care Authority is excited to work with our partners to promote routine checkups as a way to keep children healthy. Preventive care can save lives and save money,” OHCA CEO Mike Fogarty said. “By working together, we are able to reach families across the state and provide resources they need to have a healthy future.”

The first 15-second spot of the year-long series will highlight the help OHCA provided for Piper Johnson and her parents when the 7-year-old had to be taken by helicopter from her Wilburton home to a Tulsa hospital for treatment of diabetes. The first spot begins airing July 1.

“Piper was a SoonerCare member and a routine re-enrollment call to the family turned into a life-saving visit to a local doctor,” Fogarty said. “A life-threatening illness was diagnosed by her doctor and she was immediately transferred to a Tulsa hospital.”

OETA Executive Director John McCarroll says he thinks the television spots aired by OETA are “an excellent way to reach the entire state with this important message.”

“Parents, grandparents, caregivers and neighbors will be seeing and hearing how vital it is to make sure our state’s youngest residents have the recommended early health checkups,” McCarroll said.

“Kids can seem so energetic and full of life that sometimes we forget they may have unseen medical situations. Hopefully, these on-air reminders will help reinforce the need for health evaluations,” he said.

Smart Start Oklahoma concentrates on school readiness for children, especially the first five years of a child's life.

“Smart Start Oklahoma is pleased to partner with OETA and the Oklahoma Health Care Authority in sharing a message that supports the importance of good health, a contributor to overall school success,” said Debra Andersen, Executive Director of Smart Start Oklahoma.  “Health problems and/or delays can put children behind before they begin school.  Encouraging families to visit their doctor regularly is another great way to make sure that all children are ready to learn when they enter school.”

SoonerCare provides quality health care for 1 in 4 Oklahomans. Oklahomans can apply for SoonerCare online at www.mysoonercare.org. For more information about SoonerCare or any of OHCA’s health care programs call the SoonerCare Helpline at 800-987-7767 or visit www.okhca.org.

For more information about Smart Start Oklahoma and school readiness for children, visit www.smartstartok.org.

#30#