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Muscogee Nation National Council Approves $40M Plan To Buy Tulsa Cancer Treatment Centers Hospital

Cancer Treatment Centers of America

The Muscogee Nation is buying the shuttered Cancer Treatment Centers of America hospital at 81st Street and U.S. 169 in Tulsa.

The National Council voted 12–0 Thursday to approve a $40 million purchase plan. The tribe will pay $5 million up front and lease the 300,000-square foot facility for $500,000 a month until closing.

Muscogee Nation Secretary of Health Shawn Terry said they’re already figuring out what needs to be upgraded or changed.

"I think we could easily be seeing patients in early July, from an outpatient standpoint," Terry said.

The hospital could end up home to an urgent care clinic, specialties like neurology and cardiology, and general surgery, among other services. It will be open to the public, like Muscogee Nation hospitals in Okemah and Okmulgee.

Inpatient care at the Tulsa hospital will be delayed until Muscogee Nation launches a new medical records system, likely around February 2022.

Terry told council members building a comparable hospital would cost millions more, and the purchase makes financial sense, even though he expects the new hospital will lose around $10 million in its first year and break even in its second.

"We've really started looking at all of the business that we send to the Tulsa market and the money that we spend in contract health, and we really think that we can save the tribe a lot of money on what we send to Tulsa and also that our people will be able to get to go to our own hospital in Tulsa," Terry said.

Muscogee Nation Attorney General Kyle Haskins had some concerns about the purchase, saying there are ways the tribe could be out its $5 million upfront payment and the cost of any improvements if the sale falls through because a limited liability company is the legal owner of the property.

"This looks like a fire sale. It looks like a fire sale in the context of you're going out of business because you're not making money, you want to liquidate the property and go," Haskins said.

Haskins advised the national council to hire licensed inspectors outside the Muscogee Nation to evaluate the former Cancer Treatment Centers hospital. Terry told councilors he is already aware of some damage caused by flooding that occurred during February's winter storms.

Tribal leaders have not settled on how to pay for the purchase, though COVID-19 relief funding could make up a portion of the money. Terry said he expects Muscogee Nation's new Tulsa hospital to create 100 jobs in its first year and up to 150 by its second year.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.
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