OSUMC's CEO Ready To Close Hospital Doors

Thursday, November 13th 2008, 10:18 pm
By: News On 6

By Jennifer Loren, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- The crisis at OSU Medical Center reaches its breaking point.  OSUMC's President and CEO says the ailing hospital will begin shutting down next month if the state doesn't step in immediately.  That, he says, will create a health care crisis that will likely affect you.

OSU Medical Center provides care to tens of thousands of uninsured and low income patients.  But, according to hospital administrators they can't stay open any longer.  And, that means those patients will have to go elsewhere.

"This will create an emergency services meltdown. There will literally be people standing on sidewalks waiting to get into emergency rooms and ambulances will be lined up for blocks waiting to be serviced at these hospitals," said OSUMC President and CEO Earl Denning.

When OSU announced their medical residents were leaving this hospital for Saint Francis, it created a cardiac arrest situation for OSU Medical Center.

"If they're gone, I don't have enough doctors to take care of the patients.  And so, we'll have to close," said OSUMC President and CEO Earl Denning.

Denning says he'll start closing procedures if the state doesn't step in by December 1st.  That's the date set by a coalition of state and city leaders who've been researching the situation.  The coalition has presented state leadership with two options.

In the first option OSU's residents would go to Saint Francis. Most of this hospital would close except for an urgent care facility. They say that option would cost the state $30 million annually. The second option is to keep this hospital open and keep the residents at OSUMC at a cost of about $12 million annually.

In a letter to Governor Brad Henry, Denning asked for an immediate solution explaining that the hospital cannot and will not continue shouldering their financial losses.

Governor Henry responded with a written statement.  He wrote, "I applaud OSU President Burns Hargis and St. Francis Hospital for their leadership and collaboration in constructing a plan to save the residency program, but there are additional issues to address in Tulsa."  

Now that all the cards are on the table, it is a matter of waiting to see what action, if any, state leaders will take.  Meanwhile, administrators of OSU's residency program say they're glad to be working with Saint Francis.

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