Article by Jana Timberlake | Bulletin: Oklahoma County Medial Society | Published: March, 2013

“A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself.”
– Oprah Winfrey

Wednesdays With Murali

Many of you remember the popular 1997 non-fiction novel, Tuesdays with Morrie written by Mitch Albom. In the book, Mitch recounts his “second chance” of reconnecting with Morrie Schwartz, a college professor from 20 years ago. Discovering Morrie in the last months of the older man’s life, the author received the gift of valuable lessons about how to live.

In 2008, I walked the halls of the State Capitol with Dr. Murali Krishna every Wednesday afternoon during the legislative session in an effort to educate legislators about the necessity to pass legislation that would extend governmental tort immunity to health care professionals who gave the “gift” of their services to the uninsured in Oklahoma. SB930 passed both houses of state government and was signed by Governor Brad Henry. Many remember our success, but I remember so much more – the lessons Dr. Krishna taught me that I use to guide my life every day.

It was magical…seeing a person’s response as Dr. Krishna approached them. Many were guarded at first, but their doubts quickly left as Dr. Krishna began to speak with eyes twinkling and a smile on his face. Someone once wrote that “the eyes are the windows to the soul,” and this is true with Dr. Krishna. His goodness became apparent as they looked into his eyes. Dr. Krishna began by explaining how low income or uninsured citizens would benefit from the passage of this bill. His audience soon realized that he was not doing this to receive accolades for himself but rather to increase an uninsured individual’s ability to obtain health care in a dignified way. My lesson learned was how to use energy from goodness to make a positive difference in my community.

Move forward to 2013. The Health Alliance for the Uninsured, created from Dr. Krishna’s desire to develop a coordinated health care delivery system for the most vulnerable in our society, has been selected to administer the Oklahoma County Community Health Network. To give you some history, Stanley Hupfeld, current HAU board president, was instrumental in developing a vision for the Commission to Transform the Health Care Safety Net in Oklahoma County. The Commission met monthly to evaluate current safety net services for low income and uninsured citizens and to learn about innovative models in other parts of the U.S. A Master Plan was designed for reducing fragmentation and improving health care services. The plan was ratified unanimously by Commission members in July 2012 and called for the development of the Oklahoma Community Health Network, which focuses efforts in three areas: specialty care, case management and strengthening of primary care medical homes within the safety net.

I want to thank the physicians of the Oklahoma County Medical Society who continue to support HAU’s efforts to provide quality health care to low income and uninsured citizens in this community. To ensure the success of the Oklahoma Community Health Network, I ask specialty physicians who are not currently donating services through HAU to consider doing so. Many have asked if the passage of the Affordable Care Act will make HAU obsolete, and the answer is, “no.” A need to deliver health care to the vulnerable will still exist. So, I encourage you to contact the Health Alliance for the Uninsured at 286-3343 and sign up to make a difference in your community.

I will never forget my Wednesdays at the State Capitol with Dr. Krishna. He is a treasure, and my life has been enriched just by knowing and working with him. Thank you so much, Dr. Krishna, for allowing me to “see the hope inside myself.”

– Jana Timberlake, Executive Director

Read the March 2013, edition of Bulletin at: Oklahoma County Medial Society