New Interim Commissioner of Health, Col. Lance Frye on Oklahoma's Covid-19 Response, and Rural HealthcareWed, 27 May 2020 05:18:52 CDT
Former Lindsay, Oklahoma native, Colonel Lance Frye, has been named by Governor Kevin Stitt, as his interim Commissioner of Health. Frye will be heading up the Oklahoma State Department of Health effective immediately.
Radio Oklahoma Farm director, Ron Hays had the opportunity to talk with Dr. Frye about his upcoming role for the Governor.
After Frye graduated from Lindsay, he went to medical school in California, and after 9-11, joined the Air Force. Frye missed his Oklahoma roots and transitioned closer to his family, where he took a position with Air National Guard and Oklahoma State University at the Center for Health Sciences. Frye said he was very honored when Governor Kevin Stitt asked him to be the commissioner of health for the state, "I can't think of anything more rewarding than trying to help the citizens of Oklahoma, get through this pandemic."
Frye says he thinks the state of Oklahoma has done an excellent job handling Covid-19, "You know this was not a one-person or one agency event that we did. I mean, everyone came together. We had people from, you know, from the government to manufacturers to private individuals that all came together, and we're here."
Frye says some of the things they have done to be prepared were to put together a hospital health care plan, where everyone can up their surge capacity by 40%, And then they deployed telehealth devices around the state for some of the more rural areas.
Regarding rural Oklahoma health care, Frye says some areas in Oklahoma don't have enough providers and access to proper medical care, "I think one of the positive things if you can have something positive come out of a pandemic, I think one of the things that we're realizing, is that this has pushed the entire nation to understand the need of that. And we're working on plans now on how to move forward and increase the availability of healthcare in rural areas."
Dr. Frye says his takeaways from the Oklahoma response to Covid-19 is that there are some areas we need to improve on. There are some areas in which Oklahoma needs more bandwidth to be able to use things in the medical field, like Telehealth Monitors, but he says the most important takeaway is that when asked, Okalhoamans show up, "Oklahomans, when they're called to duty; show up, you know they want to, they want to help."
There have been many concerns about the possibility of a 'second wave' of Covid-19, and Frye says if that does happen, they will be ready, "We learned a lot this time, and we put together a great plan. We are better prepared than we were the first time. We're still storing up our PPE supplies to make sure that we're not behind if this starts again, and we've shown what works, so we're ready to go."
To hear the complete interview with Dr. Frye and Ron Hays, click or tap below:
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