The education of future doctors and a study of the business side of medicine would be combined as part of a legislative proposal by State Sen. Jim Wilson. Wilson, D-Tahlequah, said he plans on introducing a measure for the 2009 legislative session to acquire the Oklahoma State University Medical Center (OSUMC) in Tulsa which would result in a permanent location for the residency program, including the emergency room program.
Current plans call for the residency program to move from OSUMC to St. Francis Hospital by July 1, 2009, although the future of the ER residency program has not yet been determined. Wilson explained his proposed legislation would address those concerns and help provide a business laboratory to learn the most efficient way to deliver health care.
“There is a tremendous amount of data available for medical outcomes, but there is virtually no information available about how to best run the business of health care,” Wilson said. “We have anecdotal evidence that significant staffing is necessary just for the billing function—and we also know about mix-ups with prescriptions, treatments and other medical errors. Finding methods to reduce or even eliminate these issues would not only save lives, but it would also save literally billions of dollars in health care costs.”
Wilson said if the state acquired OSUMC, keep the residency program there and create a medical business laboratory, the cost to taxpayers would be less than $20 million a year, but could result in practices that would help reduce health care expenditures in Oklahoma by as much as $4 billion.
The lawmaker noted several other developed nations, as well as the Veterans Administration and Indian Health Systems in this country, are more efficient, less expensive and many times have better outcomes than other care providers. Wilson said by studying best practices in a “business laboratory” as part of OSUMC, the state would be able to develop a better product at a lower cost.
“Northeastern Oklahoma has a critical need for indigent care. This project will respond to that need as well as help find ways to significantly reduce the cost of health care delivery,” Wilson said. “The benefits of this proposal are many. We would continue to provide future physicians with residency programs and provide indigent care, while studying and enacting business practices that will enable us to achieve these goals for billions less.”