El Reno of­fers $2 mil­lion to re­tain emer­gency room

The Oklahoman - - NEWS - BY MEG WINGERTER Staff Writer [email protected]

El Reno is de­ter­mined to keep at least an emer­gency room when its cur­rent hospi­tal op­er­a­tor pulls out, and it’s will­ing to of­fer $2 mil­lion and 14 acres to the right group.

Mercy Health an­nounced in Novem­ber that it would stop op­er­at­ing the El Reno hospi­tal in March, and would open a new fa­cil­ity for out­pa­tient ser­vices. The city of El Reno owns the hospi­tal build­ing, which dates to the 1950s, but is hop­ing to find a med­i­cal group in­ter­ested in build­ing a new fa­cil­ity, Mayor Matt White said at a news con­fer­ence Thurs­day.

“We’re a grow­ing mar­ket, so we need to get out of the old fa­cil­ity,” he said.

The city put out a re­quest for pro­pos­als for a fa­cil­ity and one for am­bu­lance ser­vices. The city coun­cil and El Reno Hospi­tal Au­thor­ity will take a vote Jan. 8 on any pro­pos­als it re­ceives.

White said six groups have shown in­ter­est so far, though he de­clined to name them. The coun­cil could ap­prove up to $2 mil­lion for con­struc­tion or oper­a­tions costs, and the city owns a par­cel of land along In­ter­state 40 near SW 27th that it could give to the right part­ner, he said.

Ok­la­homa City fa­cil­i­ties likely will be some of the lead­ing can­di­dates, be­cause hos­pi­tals are al­lowed to op­er­ate a free­stand­ing emer­gency room un­der their own li­cense if the dis­tance be­tween the emer­gency room and the main fa­cil­ity is less than 35 miles. Two physi­cian groups also have shown in­ter­est, White said.

The most im­por­tant pri­or­i­ties are con­tin­ued am­bu­lance ser­vice and an emer­gency room, though White said the city would also like to see other ser­vices of­fered. At least one group has dis­cussed open­ing a “mi­cro­hos­pi­tal,” which would in­clude an emer­gency room, out­pa­tient ser­vices and a hand­ful of beds when a pa­tient needs to stay for ob­ser­va­tion, he said. The ex­ist­ing hospi­tal is li­censed for 48 beds, but Mercy re­ported it typ­i­cally had only 12 overnight pa­tients in re­cent months.

“Us be­ing lo­cated so close to Ok­la­homa City, I don’t think we need that many beds,” White said. “We have to have an am­bu­lance ser­vice and we have to have an emer­gency room.”

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