OU Health to Provide Neurology Services at McAlester Regional Health Center
Published: Thursday, March 31, 2022
McAlester -- OU Health in Oklahoma City is teaming with McAlester Regional Health Center to provide adult neuroscience services to people in southeastern Oklahoma.
The relationship brings neurology expertise to McAlester for patients with epilepsy, migraines, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, dementia and other conditions. This is the first collaboration between OU Health, the state’s comprehensive academic healthcare center, and McAlester Regional Health Center, which provides a wide range of inpatient and outpatient care to people in McAlester and surrounding communities. Neurosurgery and Telestroke services will be implemented within the next few months to further enhance this neuroscience collaboration.
“I’m excited about this collaboration. This is an opportunity for us to expand neurology services beyond our campus to a smaller city, and to provide people in southeastern Oklahoma a pipeline to our specialists in Oklahoma City when needed. This is a natural relationship for both of us,” said OU Health neurologist David Lee Gordon, M.D., who also serves as Professor and Chair of the Department of Neurology for the OU College of Medicine.
The collaboration will have both short-term and long-term components. Initially, Robert Hamilton, M.D., a fellowship-trained and board-certified neurologist with OU Health, will see patients in McAlester one day each month. In addition, OU Health is providing specialty neurology training to a newly hired nurse practitioner in McAlester, Chris Hitchcock, who will see patients daily and consult with OU Health neurologists about each person’s plan of care.
The longer-term part of the collaboration is to hire a new neurologist to practice full-time in McAlester, Gordon said. This neurologist will be affiliated with OU Health, with a faculty appointment in the OU College of Medicine, but will provide care solely in McAlester.
Through its telemedicine platform, OU Health is offering additional services to McAlester Regional Health Center. A team of neurohospitalists at OU Health is available 24/7 to provide telestroke care, working with hospital staff in McAlester to virtually examine patients and determine, for example, if a patient is a candidate for a clot-dissolving or clot-removal procedure. In addition, OU Health neurologists will be available for telemedicine consultations for all other neurology conditions, in both inpatient and outpatient settings.
In the future, OU College of Medicine neurology residents may undergo a training rotation in McAlester, working with the OU Health neurologist to deliver care in a community setting. Neurologists are in short supply both across the nation and in Oklahoma, especially in rural communities across the state, Gordon said, and training in McAlester would be ideal for a neurologist who wants to practice in a rural setting.
McAlester Regional Health Center President and CEO Shawn Howard said the collaboration will leverage the strengths of both organizations to provide high-quality patient care.
“McAlester Regional is a gold-certified primary stroke center. To maintain that level of excellence for our community, we find it important to partner with the best our state has to offer in neurosciences,” Howard said. “We believe that partner is OU Health. I am excited for all the possibilities that partnership has to offer for our community. Our goal has always been to provide the very best care for southeast Oklahoma. This partnership allows our community to receive the very best care right here at home.”
Ian Dunn, M.D., Chief Physician Executive for OU Health and Professor and Chair of the Department of Neurosurgery in the OU College of Medicine, added that the expansion of OU Health’s neurology services reflects the comprehensive academic healthcare center’s mission to elevate the health of all Oklahomans. “Our neurologists at OU Health are highly skilled and experienced,” he said. “We’re grateful to launch this relationship with McAlester Regional Health Center to jointly offer services that will improve the quality of life for those who need our care.”
OU Health is the state’s only comprehensive academic health system of hospitals, clinics and centers of excellence. With 11,000 employees and more than 1,300 physicians and advanced practice providers, OU Health is home to Oklahoma’s largest doctor network with a complete range of specialty care. OU Health serves Oklahoma and the region with the state’s only freestanding children’s hospital, the only National Cancer Institute-Designated OU Health Stephenson Cancer Center and Oklahoma’s flagship hospital, which serves as the state’s only Level 1 trauma center. OU Health’s oncology program at OU Health Stephenson Cancer Center was named Oklahoma’s top facility for cancer care by U.S. News & World Report in its 2020-21 rankings. OU Health also was ranked by U.S. News & World Report as high performing in these specialties: Colon Surgery, COPD and Congestive Heart Failure. OU Health’s mission is to lead healthcare in patient care, education and research. To learn more, visit ouhealth.com.