Selection Creates Opportunity to Start Negotiations and Signals Progress on Acquiring a Management Partner

OSU Medical Center in Tulsa

The Oklahoma State University Medical Authority (OSUMA) in Tulsa announced at its meeting today the selection of Mercy Health System as the medical organization to manage the 249-bed Oklahoma State University (OSU) Medical Center hospital in downtown Tulsa.

The OSU Medical Center is the nation’s largest osteopathic teaching hospital working directly with the Oklahoma State University College of Osteopathic Medicine to train approximately 150 primary care physicians annually. In addition, the hospital provides healthcare to the medically underserved population across northeast Oklahoma and provides nearly 1,000 jobs to the region. In the past year, the hospital served more than 45,000 individuals in the emergency room and 25,000 patient visits.

The OSUMA selection starts negotiations between Mercy and OSU on a long-term management contract, which will include investments to modernize the facilities and upgrade operations at the OSU Medical Center.

OSUMA is the state agency and trust established in 2013 that oversees state appropriated funds and owns the facility. The funds also support graduate medical education and medical residencies for the OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine.  

“The OSUMA board’s decision to select Mercy as a potential management partner for the medical center is a pivotal moment for OSU, Tulsa and the rest of the state,” said Jerry Hudson, chair of the OSU Medical Center Trust. “Mercy’s reputation and experience in operating high-quality, large-volume hospitals throughout this region of the country is well-known. Mercy’s unquestioned commitment to the OSU medical school residents and students and their passion to care for the medically underserved creates a sound foundation for a long-term relationship.”

Hudson also commended his fellow members of the Authority for their unwavering dedication throughout the process to select a viable partner to manage the facility and operations.  “As the due diligence process begins, we will explore strategies and initiatives to ensure viability in the ever changing healthcare environment providers face in our country today.”  

“Mercy is pleased our proposal has been selected and we look forward to the next-phase of discussions with OSU towards a potential long-term management relationship,” said Di Smalley, FACHE, regional president of Mercy in Oklahoma. “The mission of the OSU Medical Center and the OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine to provide Oklahoma with well-educated and trained primary care physicians and to serve both rural and urban underserved medical communities is ideally aligned with Mercy’s mission in Oklahoma.”

“A management agreement will not only secure the future of the OSU Medical Center, but also put a plan in place to upgrade the facility and health care delivery,” said OSU President Burns Hargis. “This public-private partnership is a proven structure to manage health care costs while at the same time improves the capabilities of the medical center through its affiliation with an established regional health care system with tremendous scale and scope.”

Hargis continued, “We appreciate the Governor and the Oklahoma Legislature for their commitment to the OSU Medical Center. They recognize the important role our medical center plays in educating future generations of Oklahoma physicians and providing care to the underserved in northeast Oklahoma. Their consistent support has enabled us to attract a high-quality potential management partner willing to invest alongside of us in this facility and its operations.”

“The addition of Mercy as a management partner for the medical center is transformational to the OSU Center for Health Sciences and fuels the promise to our medical students and residents that their training will continue at the highest levels,” said Dr. Kayse Shrum, President and Provost, OSU Center for Health Sciences. “Mercy’s commitment will sustain and enhance the residency and teaching programs at the teaching hospital, which is central to the success of any medical school.”


Mercy is the sixth largest Catholic health care system in the U.S. and serves more than 3 million people annually. Mercy includes 33 acute care hospitals, four heart hospitals, two children’s hospitals, two rehab hospitals and one orthopedic hospital, nearly 700 clinic and outpatient facilities, 40,000 co-workers and more than 2,100 Mercy Clinic physicians in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has outreach ministries in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.

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