Stroud leaders pledge to reopen hospital

Wednesday, December 29th 1999, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

STROUD, Okla. (AP) -- City leaders hope to reopen Stroud's hospital by May 3, exactly one year after a tornado ripped the roof off and took away a major economic contributor. And they plan to do it themselves.

City officials decided to end a search for a hospital group to lease and manage the facility and take action themselves. City Manager Earl Burson said providing local medical services is essential to the town's redevelopment. "We have to have medical treatment locally; that's something everyone here seems to agree on," Burson said. "We really can't afford not to do this."

The May 3 twister cost the town hundreds of jobs when it destroyed the Tanger Outlet Mall, other major employers and damaged the hospital. The hospital alone generated a $1.5 million annualpayroll. The hospital provider pulled out a few weeks after the storm. An insurance settlement is expected soon to cover repair costs, officials said.

City leaders plan to reopen the hospital with services including surgery, emergency room, obstetrics and 50-plus employees. The city plans a "loose alliance" with St. Anthony Hospital in Oklahoma City to strengthen the city's operation of the facility, said Bill Sasser, chairman of the Stroud hospital's board.

St. Anthony would serve an advisory role in assisting with training, recruitment and volume purchasing power, Sasser said. "This is going to happen. It's real," he said. "It's going to be a hard road, but I wouldn't be involved if this weren't going to happen.”