The full Senate has given unanimous approval to a measure ensuring the future of the Oklahoma State University College of Osteopathic Medicine (OSUCOM). Senate Bill 1771 will create an authority and trust to execute and implement the terms of an Academic Affiliation Agreement recently reached between OSUCOM and the Tulsa Regional Medical Center (TRMC).
Sen. Mike Mazzei is co-author of the legislation, which he called critical to the survival of the medical school.
“There has been a dark, ominous cloud of uncertainty hanging over OSUCOM as its teaching facility has transferred from different owner to different owner… there have been some concerns raised about consolidating services with other facilities which would basically end the college of medicine,” said Mazzei, R-Tulsa. “This agreement and the legislation that supports it is vitally important to maintaining one of the best medical schools in the country and also maintaining our very important pipeline of rural doctors going all over the state of Oklahoma.”
“Under the Academic Affiliation Agreement, there will be a 50 year contractual arrangement to achieve governing control and the stability of the residency program,” said Senate co-author Tom Adelson, D-Tulsa. “SB 1771 enables us to enact the provisions of that agreement, and ensure the future of OSUCOM.”
Rep. Chris Benge is House author of the measure, which will require the appropriation of approximately $40 million over a five year period which would be earmarked for direct support of the OSUCOM residency program.
“The necessity of this has already been agreed to by the leaders of both chambers and the Governor, so I am optimistic this will be addressed as the final budget negotiations are finalized,” said Benge, R-Tulsa. “Taking this action is important not only to northeastern Oklahoma, but to our entire state as we ensure all of Oklahoma will have access to the healthcare they need.”
The measure now moves to the House for final consideration before being sent to the Governor.