Governor Henry Signs OSU-Tulsa Health Care Bill

Monday, March 9th 2009, 2:35 pm
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Governor Brad Henry signed legislation on Monday that will help preserve the Oklahoma State University medical program and the OSU Medical Center in Tulsa.

House Bill 1127 by House Speaker Chris Benge (Tulsa-R) and Senate President Pro Tempore Glenn Coffee (Oklahoma City-R) appropriates $5 million to the OSU Medical Authority to keep the facility in operation. It is the first installment of five such annual appropriations.

"With the help of this legislation, we will preserve the OSU medical program in Tulsa, save the OSU Medical Center and address a number of underlying health care needs in the Tulsa metro area," said Governor Henry.

The funding is part of an agreement hammered out last December by Governor Henry, Speaker Benge, Pro Tem Coffee, OSU officials and Tulsa leaders.

"Today's signing represents a major milestone for the many parties who worked tirelessly to arrive at this point. Nothing has been more important to our medical school than securing its future, and by doing so, it can move full speed ahead in meeting its teaching, training and research mission, which is so vitally important to our state," said Oklahoma State University President Burns Hargis. "We express our heartfelt thanks to Governor Brad Henry, Senate President Pro-Tem Glenn Coffee, Speaker of the House Chris Benge and their respective staffs. In addition, we thank Tulsa Mayor Kathy Taylor and St. John Health Systems CEO David Pynn, as well as George Kaiser and Ken Levitt with the Kaiser Family Foundation. I also want to thank Jake Henry, President and CEO of Saint Francis Health System, for stepping forward with a solution at a critical time when the future was truly uncertain."

Before state leaders reached their agreement, there was concern that the OSU medical center would have to shut its doors because of financial difficulties.