Lawmaker Has Plan For OSU Med Center

Monday, November 3rd 2008, 10:11 pm
By: News On 6

By Jennifer Loren, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- There may be a possible lifeline for Tulsa's ailing OSU Medical Center.  A state senator from Tahlequah says he wants the state to buy it.

Senator Jim Wilson says he'll introduce legislation next session that will save the hospital, the OSU resident program and save the state money.

But, some wonder if it is it too little too late.

"This has been a continuing festering problem," said Senator Jim Wilson.

Senator Jim Wilson is worried about losing OSU Medical Center.  The median income for his Tahlequah-area constituents is $29,000 per household.

"These people are not paying 12-thosuand dollars a year for health insurance. And so we need an outlet for indigent care," said Senator Jim Wilson.

Wilson plans to introduce legislation in the next session that would have the state buy OSU Medical Center for a cost of $20 million a year.  He says that's a small price to pay when the state already pays more than $20 billion a year in health care costs.

"My biggest interest is the business side of this. We cannot continue to sustain such health care costs every year," said Senator Jim Wilson.

That's why his plan includes a business model that he says could save the state $4 billion.  He wants to create a laboratory of accountants that would figure out where we're wasting money and how we can save it.

"Keep in mind that we are not the best health care system in the world and the best health care systems in the world spend half as much money. So, it makes sense to me that if we can have a better product for less money then that's what we need to do," said Senator Jim Wilson.

But Wilson's plan comes after OSU's residents have already agreed to move on to Saint Francis, plus a community coalition is already organizing a different solution.

So is this plan too little too late?  Wilson says no.

"I am going to support their plan as long as it includes rural Oklahoma. One of the things we've done that's been wrong in the past is we haven't included rural Oklahoma that needs the Tulsa facilities," said Senator Jim Wilson.

Senator Wilson is working on draft legislation right now.  He says his bill has a good chance of passing because of the number of legislators whose rural constituents need the hospital.

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