Council Oak Comprehensive Healthcare is in the closed Cancer Treatment Centers of America hospital near 81st St and U.S. 169. Daniel Shular, Tulsa World

by Michael Overall

Expanding services at the tribe’s new hospital in south Tulsa, the Muscogee Nation considered several organizations to provide surgical care.

“There are going to be people come and go over the years, organizations that come and go,” said Shawn Terry, the tribe’s secretary of health. But the Muscogee Nation “will be here until the end of time” and wanted a partner that seems equally permanent, Terry said.

That’s why the tribe will work with the OU-TU School of Community Medicine to provide general surgery services at the Council Oak Comprehensive Healthcare facility, promising to bring the latest surgical technology and attract the best medical talent to Tulsa, officials announced Wednesday.

“It only makes sense for this marriage to happen,” Terry said. “The University of Oklahoma will always be one of the best universities in the state.”

In 2021 the Muscogee Nation bought the facility, a closed Cancer Treatment Centers of America hospital near 81st Street and U.S. 169, where the tribe has since opened several specialty clinics, including neurology, pulmonology and diabetes care. The hospital has also added an express care for minor emergencies, a primary care clinic and inpatient services.

Some types of general surgery could begin within a few weeks, with OU faculty providing the surgical care while teaching resident trainees, officials said.

“The best partnerships are those where each side of the partnership is committed to doing more than the other,” said OU President Joseph Harroz Jr.

Council Oak will be committed to providing the best possible facility while the university is committed to providing the best possible medical talent, he said.

“It’s an all-in partnership,” Harroz said. “The future is unlimited.”

The tribe’s willingness to invest in the latest technology will help the school recruit the best surgeons and medical students, said Dr. Timothy Nelson, chair of the OU-TU School of Community Medicine Department of Surgery.

“They’re going to want to be a part of what is happening here,” Nelson said.