The budget deal also allowed the hospital to continue seeking a private partner to operate the hospital, which is owned by the city of Tulsa. The hospital previously partnered with St. John Health System to operate the hospital, but that relationship ended last year.
OSU officials are in talks with Mercy, a St. Louis-based hospital system, to operate the hospital. In a statement, Mercy Regional President Di Smalley said a partnership between Mercy and OSU Medical would allow the two entities to better address the state's doctor shortage.
“Our state needs the OSU teaching hospital not only to provide physicians, but also to care for the underserved in Tulsa and northeast Oklahoma,” Smalley said.
Barnett said a partnership with Mercy would be a good fit for OSU because the hospital system has a strong presence in rural Oklahoma. The OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine was founded to send doctors to rural and underserved parts of the state. Mercy is already at work in many of those areas, he said.