Despite Close Competition, Two Owasso Hospitals Report Growth

Article excerpt

Within two miles stand two similar hospitals.

Two years ago, St. John Owasso and Bailey Medical Center each opened their doors during the same month.

Together the projects brought about $100 million in construction to Owasso.

Many people wondered if the city of just 30,000 could generate support for two full-service hospitals, said Chelsea Harkins, economic development director for the city of Owasso.

"With a community of our size the thought was when they both came in, could both be used?" said Harkins. "But I think both have proven to provide a niche."

David Phillips, chief executive officer of St. John Owasso, said the public is probably delighted to have two hospitals from which to choose.

But the competition has presented a challenge for the hospitals themselves.

"I think both sides wondered if a community of this size could handle two hospitals," he said. "Each has unique conveniences about them, and they each serve maybe some different populations with their service. But only time will tell."

Owasso has a relatively large population of young people, an age group that doesn't need to visit hospitals very often, said Dee Renshaw, chief executive of Bailey Medical Center.

"For us to be a success we have to do things that reach beyond our primary service," he said. "We have to track patients from out of the marketplace to be successful."

St. John Owasso

Since St. John opened its facility ahead of Bailey Medical Center, the hospital touts itself as Owasso's first hospital.

The 106,000-square-foot facility has 36 inpatient beds with room for 24 more, said Phillips. There is room for further expansion and they can add wings to the hospital. Phillips said the hospital is conservative on pursuing any more construction activity.

"You don't want to overbuild," he said. "You want to be good stewards of health care dollars. We are kind of waiting to see what the community needs."

St. John has increased some of its medical services, such as adding obstetrician/gynecology and pediatrics staff members. Future plans call for the hospital to increase surgical services. …