Rural Hospitals Feel Oklahoma Budget Crunch

Sunday, May 8th 2016, 7:24 pm
By: News On 6

Thousands of rural hospital patients will soon be forced to drive a farther distance for health care.

State budget cuts will force the closing of several rural hospitals.

Oklahoma healthcare is just one more area facing state budget cuts.

In response to the funding crisis, the state health departments proposed cutting Medicaid by 25 percent.

The rural families traveling to larger cities like Tulsa will have to depend on places like nonprofit Hospitality House to help limit the financial blow.

Hospitality House website

It's the pending Medicaid cuts that are putting small-town community hospitals more at risk of closing.

The cuts would impact Sooner Care patients – the low-income families.

Hospitality House of Tulsa serves many of the rural families that will be impacted by the closures.

It provides a temporary place to stay as families travel to be with loved ones dealing with major and longterm health crisis.

"We are going to see thousands of more families traveling to Tulsa and the Oklahoma City-metro areas for access to medical care that they desperately need,” Hospitality House’s Toni Moore said. “In fact, Oklahoma has about 42 rural hospitals that are at risk of closing or at least changing their statues to ER triage and outpatient services only."

Hospitality House Facebook page

Five rural hospitals are expected to close in the next three months.

Hospitality House is  partnering with the DoubleTree to get 10 more rooms. They'll have those 10 rooms in addition to the rooms they have here to help those families. So they'll be able to go from helping 500 families a year to 800 families.

"It's very humbling to think that a vision that came about from my faith could expand and help so many families," Moore said.

Moore says her mission isn't to get more rooms but instead have the legislature fix a broken system.