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Oklahoma infant mortality rates over national average

(Tulsa-AP) -- Oklahoma's infant mortality is higher than the national average -- coming in at 8.5 deaths per 1,000 live births versus 7.2 for the nation.

Part of the blame is being leveled at Oklahoma's rural hospita lsystem.

Jan Figart is grandmother of an infant who died and senior systems development analyst with the Community Service Council.

Figart says if we look at Oklahoma's rural hospital system, they have been financially starved to the point that they're little more than medical clinics.

The Oklahoma Hospital Association lists Oklahoma hospitals as ranked 49th in the nation in per capita Medicaid reimbursement.

Medicaid rates in Oklahoma have not been raised since 1992. The association says the percentage of patients on Medicaid or Medicare or who are uninsured is in excess of 80 percent in many small, rural hospitals.
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