Effort Continues To Save Hospital

Wednesday, November 12th 2008, 9:54 pm
By: News On 6

By Ashli Sims, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Tulsa leaders are pushing for state lawmakers to breathe new life into the Oklahoma State University Medical Center.  Several politicians and health care leaders are calling for a publicly funded trust to save the embattled hospital.

The letters are flying.  Tulsa's mayor, city council and the leadership at Saint John are calling on the state to keep OSU Medical Center from closing.

Dire warnings on the future of OSU Medical Center are reaching a fevered pitch.  City leaders are now demanding action.  And, the medical students caught in the middle are speaking out.

"This is our hospital.  It's right across the river.  This is home.  That's where we want to be," said 2nd year OSU medical student, Trey Thomason.

But, their student home may soon close its doors.  OSU Medical Center serves thousands of patients who don't have health insurance and can't afford to pay for care.  Now, the teaching hospital can't afford to stay open.  Saint Francis has stepped up to offer OSU medical students a new home.  And while they're grateful, many would like to see the state take action to keep OSUMC alive.

"At the same time, we have an excellent training environment over at OSU Medical Center.  And, we're also serving an area, a population in Tulsa, that needs the care more than anybody in Tulsa," said 4th year OSU medical student, Chad Chamberlain.

The leadership at Saint John Hospital has joined the fight to keep the troubled hospital from flat-lining.     

In a letter to Governor Brad Henry, they say other area hospitals are in no position to absorb OSUMC's 50,000 patients. 

The students say bottom line, if their hospital closes, every patient in Tulsa could see longer waiting lines in the ER.

"It's gonna put such a strain.  Hospitals overall," said 2nd year OSU medical student, Trey Thomason.

Mayor Kathy Taylor and several Tulsa City Council members are calling for a publicly funded trust to take over the hospital.  And, they want the state legislature to pay for it, just like they do with University Hospital in Oklahoma City. 

The OSU students say with the hospital losing more than $1 million every month, time is running out.

"They can't continue to operate that way since they're a tax paying company so, I don't think they'll be open past February," said 4th year OSU medical student, Chad Chamberlain.

Mayor Kathy Taylor is calling for action by December 1st.

An Oklahoma senator from Tahlequah has introduced a bill to save OSUMC but, it won't be heard until February.

Related Story:

11/03/2008  Lawmaker Has Plan For OSU Med Center