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OU Health for Oklahomans

As Oklahoma’s only integrated, comprehensive academic health system, OU Health is focused on advancing the healthcare outcomes of people across the state. Toward that mission, OU Health is relentlessly pursuing three aims, each of which is important by itself but whose synergy will usher in the healthcare access and innovations that Oklahomans need and deserve.

One Unified Organization

By merging our hospitals and clinics into one unified organization, we are creating Oklahoma’s first integrated, comprehensive academic health system. The healthiest states in the nation all have integrated health systems under a single leadership team. Although OU Medicine and the OU Health Sciences Center have been close partners for decades, this merger will align our strategic aims and solidify our care delivery system as one OU Health. The merger will enable growth and unity that would not be possible as separate structures.

  • A single clinical strategy means that we can more strategically invest our earnings into the research and education missions of the enterprise. Decisions will be made in the interest of the academic health system as a whole rather than individual components.
  • Because we are a unified system, researchers will better be able to work side by side within the hospital setting, accelerating healthcare breakthroughs that cannot be discovered elsewhere in Oklahoma.
  • Our patients will benefit from interdisciplinary care, in which a team of health professionals from different specialties work together to help patients achieve the best health outcomes.
  • The merged system will provide a seamless experience for patients between clinics and hospitals. A new Electronic Health Record planned for 2022 will provide further efficiencies for patients and the enterprise.
  • The merger will allow OU Health to invest in community healthcare across the state, a strategy that will make it easier to see a physician no matter where our patients live.
  • Oklahomans will receive the ultimate benefit of the merger by having increased access to the latest research-driven treatments, leading healthcare providers, and efficient patient care.

Standing Up for Our Patients

OU Health is steadfast in championing our patients through our ongoing contract debate with Blue Cross Blue Shield. The bottom line is that BCBS is putting the care of thousands of Oklahomans at risk. Without access to OU Physicians, our patients may be forced to drive more than 300 miles to receive comparable care. Read more about negotations with BCBS here.

  • BCBS is not valuing OU Physicians at the same level as what other national insurance companies pay for those same services in a multispecialty, research-driven physician group.
  • Our physician group, the largest in the state, provides expert and unique specialty care for children and adults. The care we provide is driven by the research innovations that result from researcher and physician collaborations.
  • Our physicians see patients at facilities available nowhere else in Oklahoma, including the National Cancer Institute-Designated Stephenson Cancer Center; Level 1 Trauma Center; Phase 1 Clinical Trials Program; a 24/7 pediatric emergency room; and much more.
  • We are committed to ensuring that our patients not face higher out-of-pocket costs. BCBS is using its dominance in the Oklahoma market to drive down reimbursement to providers, which ultimately hurts patients.
  • Our ability to recruit and retain physicians is directly tied to the reimbursements we receive from BCBS. Oklahoma ranks near the bottom in the nation for the number of physicians it has compared to the number needed to serve its people.
  • By demanding that BCBS value our enterprise, we are requiring that they reflect our mission of investing in the health of Oklahomans.

Building the Healthcare Workforce

Physicians walk down a hallway at OU HealthAs the state’s comprehensive academic healthcare system, we train the physicians, nurses and other healthcare providers of the future. OU Health is committed to investing in and expanding our education mission so more healthcare providers will be caring for Oklahomans across all areas of the state. The healthcare workforce pipeline will only become stronger.

  • The restoration of OU Health’s historic sales tax exemption will further improve care by funding 70 medical resident positions; 110 nursing graduates a year; and 50 new nurse practitioners a year.
  • This will allow us to change the trajectory of healthcare in Oklahoma. The state currently ranks No. 46 in nation for physicians per capita, and has 40% less registered nurses per capita than the national average.
  • Studies tell us that physicians who train in Oklahoma tend to stay in Oklahoma. The state ranks No. 11 in the nation for retaining medical residents. That’s why investing in education is investing in improved health for Oklahomans.
  • OU Health is committed to diversity in its educational programs and works with partners across the state to ensure that qualifying students from underrepresented populations can attend a health profession college at the OU Health Sciences Center. Those students are also more likely to return to their communities to practice.