Cancer Treatment Centers of America In Tulsa Sees Last Patients After Almost 31 Years

Thursday, May 27th 2021, 9:25 pm

TULSA, Oklahoma -

After almost 31 years of caring for thousands of patients, Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Tulsa saw its last appointments on May 27.

While most patients have figured out where to continue their care, some employees are still trying to decide what to do next.

"Not to be emotional,” said Wendy Wheaton, a former patient and employee. “I didn't think I would be, but I kind of feel like I've grieved and had to move on because I'm in active treatment."

Wendy Wheaton worked at the hospital for about 29 years until 2018. In 2017, she was diagnosed with bile duct cancer.

Then, in 2019, her husband, Cliff Wheaton, was diagnosed with lung cancer. The Wheatons were treated by the same doctor at CTCA Tulsa.

"I feel like they set the bar and thank goodness for that because so many other cancer treatment centers have stepped up," said Wendy Wheaton.

The Wheatons will now get their care at Oklahoma Cancer Specialists in Tulsa.

Hundreds of other patients are transferring to one of the three remaining CTCA locations in Atlanta, Chicago and Phoenix.

In a statement to News On 6, CTCA Tulsa President, Dana Haynie said, "We hope that other healthcare facilities in Oklahoma are able to overcome the insurance limitations that we were unable to so the residents of this great state continue to get quality access to the care they deserve."

Meanwhile, for the 400 Tulsa employees, it is bittersweet.

"I just can't imagine Tulsa without it, so it's just this wave of sadness,” said Kate Schmelz, who worked at the Tulsa location for almost 12 years.

This week, she moved into her new role, staying in Tulsa and working for other CTCA locations. Schmelz said she is hopeful her coworkers will land on their feet.

"We get to take the standard of care and the compassion and the hope that we operated in at our hospital, and we get to take that to other places and spread that," said Schmelz.

The CTCA Tulsa building will be open to employees through the end of next week to finalize the closure, but it is now closed to patients and visitors. CTCA told News On 6 the future of the building is being determined.