OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR)- More than 1.2 million Oklahomans currently have SoonerCare, but some say it’s been nearly impossible to find a doctor.

Oklahoma voters approved Medicaid expansion back in 2021. That legislation allowed for private companies, instead of the state, to manage SoonerCare.

Kristen Richmond, who has SoonerCare insurance, has been searching for a pediatrician for her young daughter for weeks, but hasn’t had much luck.

News 4 asked Richmond how many healthcare centers she has tried getting her daughter into and she said “at least 15.”

“It’s been nerve wracking. It’s kind of down in the dumps. It’s very hard,” explained Richmond.

Each healthcare facility she spoke with allegedly told her they’re maxed out on Soonercare patients and weren’t accepting anyone new.

“Their books are booked. That one doctor has over 500 patients already,” added Richmond in reference to a Norman healthcare center she spoke with.

Richmond also claims she was told many of the healthcare professionals are accepting out-of-state virtual patients and that’s a reason for the lack of doctors accepting SoonerCare.

Oklahoma Healthcare Authority was not able to confirm whether this claim was accurate or not.

Oklahoma Healthcare Authority Chief of Communications, Melissa Richey wasn’t able to provide a definitive number on how many physicians are maxed out on SoonerCare patients, but said, “We work day to day with our provider engagement team at HCA, and they are always aware of which providers, you know, are reaching that limit, which ones have more of a capacity to take on more SoonerCare members.”

For those physicians that are maxed out though, Richey said it could be because of a handful of reasons including a lack of staff, the location, and not enough facilities in rural Oklahoma areas.

“In rural Oklahoma, there’s not as many facilities. There’s not as many providers that are available,” added Richey.

If a SoonerCare insurance holder is having trouble finding a doctor, Richey recommends calling their helpline at 1-800-987-7767.

“They can also go online where we have a provider directory. They can type in the type of physician that they want to see where they’re located and they will provide a list of providers in that area that they will be able to go to if they still have issues. After going to the directory, we encourage them to call us. We want to be there to help them find the provider,” stated Richey.

Richey explained that securing a primary care physician is important because they’ll cover preventative care services.

She says while urgent care is “great for when you need that quick response,” it’s better to have a primary care physician.

“They’re there to aid them. They’re going to see things within their health care that an urgent care physician may not see just in that quick trip,” said Richey.

News 4 asked Richey what the cost difference between a PCP and an urgent care provider is. She said said there isn’t one.

Richmond told KFOR she was fortunate to finally find a pediatrician for her daughter and scheduled an appointment for Friday.