( – promoted by OKWatchdog)
I hate to admit the guilty pleasure I had in seeing the state’s metro dailies go at each other recently over the amount of money Tulsa and Oklahoma City hospitals receive for indigent health care.
The Oke started the volley:
“We have advocated for a stop to claims that Tulsa’s been treated unfairly when it comes to indigent-care spending. … This issue shouldn’t be yet another bedlam competition.”
The World responded:
“Oklahoma City facilities are touted as regional destinations for certain types of services, and it’s true they are, in large measure because taxpayers have subsidized those facilities since statehood, making them the premier health-care institutions that they are.”
Anytime the Oke and the World call each other out, I have a smile on my face for the rest of the day. It’s sort of like seeing a rich uncle lose his composure at Christmas because someone mentioned his deadbeat son.
Yet my favorite comment came from State Treasurer Scott Meacham (as quoted in the World):
“The reason Tulsa doesn’t get as much money is because there isn’t a state-owned facility there, which is why they want one.”
Maybe I’m just slow, but that seems like some seriously circular reasoning, coming from a state official.
Digging through my files, I found some interesting stats that shed some light on who visits whom.
In 2005 Integris Southwest Medical Center, Integris Baptist Medical Center, OU Medical Center, Midwest Regional Medical Center, St. Anthony Hospital and Edmond Medical Center saw from 10,276 to 17,991 emergency room visits from each of four Zip codes in the Oklahoma City metro area.
See the source of this information at http://tinyurl.com/5gy872
In Tulsa in 2005, 10 Zip codes generated more than 500 emergency room visits each per 1,000 residents.
See the source of this information at http://tinyurl.com/5d2f22
The upshot: Both cities’ hospitals are busy serving locals, even as they also serve as regional hubs.