Norman Regional Health System is unveiling a transformational plan for healthcare in the communities we serve. The plan is called Inspire Health, and it is a vital step in ensuring our organization and our communities grow stronger and healthier.
About Inspire Health
Imagine if you were able to design a healthcare system for your regional communities. How would you support and advance the health and well-being of all residents? What services would you provide? Where would you locate your facilities and clinics for greater accessibility and convenience? How would you envision healthcare needs for the next five to 10 years, at a time when healthcare is rapidly changing?
Right now is truly an exciting time because Norman Regional Health System is doing just that, we are reimagining healthcare. We are considering every aspect of our services and building towards a future of health promotion and wellness, service line expansion, and delivering greater accessibility and convenience. The name of our bold healthcare transformation plan is Inspire Health.
The health system’s overall physical structure must align with how our patients and communities want to receive care. We already know our patients want greater convenience, lower costs, and easy access to care in a variety of settings, especially outside of a traditional hospital facility. Our more than 375 providers and 3,150 healers are focused on creating a healthcare environment that serves our patients where they live, work, and play.
You will see Inspire Health spring to life through these exciting new projects aimed at transforming our health system and our communities. Norman Regional has been part of the fabric of the regional community for more than seven decades. Inspire Health builds on that legacy and meets our long-standing commitment to provide the highest quality healthcare services to our residents now and long into the future.
At Norman Regional, we recognize the pivotal and privileged role we play in improving the health and well-being of those we serve. The Inspire Health transformational plan is a vital step in ensuring our organization and our communities grow stronger and healthier.
Frequently Asked Questions & Responses
Inspire Health is a bold, transformational plan designed to position your Norman Regional Health System for the future healthcare needs of the Norman community.
Norman Regional also received several questions from Norman City Council Member Alison Petrone. Our leadership team provided the linked document (Inspire Health Answers) to her. You can also read it. Information included in this document covers: the consulting firm Norman Regional worked with to create the Inspire Health plan, potential plans for Norman Regional Hospital, financing, the planned free-standing emergency department, and more.
1. What are the five components of Inspire Health?
- HealthPlex Expansion and Consolidation of Inpatient Acute Care Beds
- HealthPlex Campus Ambulatory Pavilion and Cancer Center
- Freestanding Emergency Department+(plus ancillary services) East Norman
- Behavioral Health Center-location yet to be determined
- Revitalization of the Porter campus
The first (3) Inspire Health components are scheduled for completion by 2023
2. What is the relationship between Norman Regional Health System and the City of Norman?
Norman Regional Health System (NRHS) is operated by the Norman Regional Hospital Authority Board and is a public trust serving the public interests and functioning as a political sub-division of the state of Oklahoma. Its nine-member board is comprised of community members who are nominated by the City of Norman Mayor and appointed/approved by the City Council.
NRHS does not receive tax-funds or any other type of revenue source from the City of Norman and is not responsible for any liability of the Authority. The City of Norman Council receives the Health System’s operational budget on an annual basis. When requested by NRHS, the City of Norman Council approves the bond issuance of Authority debt.
3. What are some of the changes occurring in healthcare that helped develop the transformation plan, Inspire Health?
There are five major changes in the healthcare environment that led to Norman Regional’s Inspire Health transformation plan.
- Much like our modern society today, patients are consumers who want convenience, lower costs and easy access to care in a variety of settings
- More and more healthcare service has shifted to the outpatient arena largely due to technology and desire for a lower cost than the traditional hospital setting
- Focus on the prevention of disease severity and management of chronic disease that can be addressed in the home or an outpatient setting
- Addressing the patients’ and communities’ social determinants of health needs such as lack of transportation, consistent access to housing, a regular diet with access to nutritious food, and access and affordability of care
- Declining healthcare payments and the need to maintain very thin operating margins requires NRHS to be as efficient as possible. The consolidation of inpatient acute care into one location allows us to improve operating costs and efficiencies, as compared to operating 2 hospital campuses.
4. What will be involved in the HealthPlex Expansion?
The HealthPlex opened in 2009 and was designed for future growth. Ten years later, the HealthPlex Hospital has reached the point in patient volumes that demands expansion of acute care beds. In fact, the HealthPlex has surpassed Norman Regional Hospital inpatient admissions and discharges. The acute care services currently housed at Norman Regional Hospital will be consolidated into the HealthPlex and result in an estimated 292 inpatient beds. The growth in hospital beds will also require the expansion of core services such as surgical suites, intensive care, emergency department and other ancillary services. The consolidation of inpatient beds to one location will help alleviate confusion for patients and families when travelling to NRHS’ acute care hospital, HealthPlex. The expansion will also reduce overall operating costs for NRHS, approximately $13 million annually.
5. Would you share more details about the Freestanding Emergency department in East Norman?
NRHS is committed to expanding the healthcare needs of residents in east Norman. The fullservice emergency department design and construction is scheduled to start simultaneously with the HealthPlex expansion build. The east side emergency facility developed for future growth will include laboratory and diagnostic imaging services and will be modeled after the Health System’s Norman Regional Moore facility. It is conveniently located on Highway 9 close to the EMSSTAT east station and just 10 miles from the HealthPlex Hospital.
6. What will the Ambulatory Pavilion and Cancer Center offer residents in Norman and the regional community?
The Ambulatory Pavilion will serve as an outpatient facility that offers a variety of tests, procedures, and treatments in a convenient and easy to access setting on the HealthPlex Campus. The Cancer Center will bring together Norman Regional’s community cancer care services, including surgical and medical oncology and radiation therapy, to one, convenient location for patients and their families. A parking structure is also planned to enhance availability and ease of access for patients, providers and healers.
7. How does the hub and spoke concept support Norman Regional Health System’s campus reconfiguration of services and healthcare needed for the future?
Once the inpatient acute care consolidation occurs, the hub or flag ship for NRHS will be the HealthPlex. Our outpatient services will continue to expand throughout our regional community to better reach our patients where they live, work and play. The NRHS ambulatory “spokes” network includes full-service free-standing emergency departments, behavioral health center, primary and specialty clinics, home medical equipment, wellness services, adult counseling, physical therapy, imaging, and laboratory services.
8. Would you share more information about the Behavioral Health Center?
The Behavioral Health Center has been planned as a minimum 50 bed free-standing facility, which will be placed in a yet-to-be determined location. The cost to build a freestanding facility is significantly lower ($400K per bed) as compared to a hospital unit ($1.5M per bed). Currently, Norman Regional is exploring capital and operational partnerships at the state level with the Oklahoma State Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services and nationally with behavioral health operational firms. The facility could combine inpatient and outpatient services for behavioral health patients.
9. What will happen to the Porter Campus?
The future status of Norman Regional Hospital campus has yet to be determined. The expansion and consolidation of inpatient acute care beds and building the freestanding Emergency Department East Norman must take place before any major change to the 73-year legacy campus could occur. One of the ideas for the 29-acre campus would be the development of a Health Village offering a broad range of services for a diverse population focusing on health and wellness, and chronic disease management. The Health Village is a potential location for the Behavioral Health Center.
10. How does Norman Regional Health System plan to finance Inspire Health?
The estimated costs of the three Inspire Health components is $285,000,000. Norman Regional Health System plans to finance the Inspire Health projects through:
- Debt proceeds from 2019 revenue bond issue $120,000,000 Requires City of Norman Council approval
- Existing capital reserves
- Investments from third parties
- Norman Regional Health Foundation Capital Fundraising Campaign
- Earnings on funds held by Series 2019 bond trustee
It is important to note that the tax-exempt revenue bonds are payable solely from hospital revenues. There is:
- No liability to taxpayers or the City of Norman at any point
- No pledge of full faith and credit of the City of Norman
- No pledge of any kind by City of Norman
11. Does Inspire Health really increase accessibility?
Yes. Norman Regional will use a “hub and spoke” approach to increase accessibility for all residents. The “hub” will be our flagship hospital, the Norman Regional HealthPlex. The “spokes” of this plan include a full-service, free-standing Emergency Department, ambulatory and cancer pavilion, behavioral health center, primary and specialty clinics, wellness services, physical therapy and imaging and lab services. There is a possibility that urgent care, primary care and specialty physician clinics will be a part of the redevelopment of the Norman Regional Hospital or Porter campus.
12. The plan for Norman Regional Hospital or Porter campus is too vague.
Multiple options are possible for the Norman Regional Hospital campus. These include a “Health Village” with health and wellness services, behavioral health services, an urgent care center and/or Norman Regional primary and specialty care physician clinics. Several local organizations have expressed interest in partnering with NRHS including Variety Care (medical, dental and behavioral health services) and local behavioral health services. It’s true, the current plan is not set in stone, but Norman Regional will work tirelessly over the next 46 months to ensure that the Norman Regional Hospital on Porter Avenue is not left vacant by the Inspire Health project. It’s important to remember Norman Regional Hospital will remain open and operational for the next two plus years until the HealthPlex expansion is completed and the new free-standing Emergency Department is open. That provides ample time for planning for redevelopment.
13. The two week request for city council approval of the bond issuance is not reasonable.
Inspire Health has been researched and planned for more than three years. The Norman City Council was invited to meetings to learn more about the plan in June 2019. All those who were members of the council or member-elect in June 2019 were invited. Norman Regional used their feedback to change the timing of some aspects of the plan. City council isn’t the only group NRHS has met with to review the full Inspire Health plan. More than 500 people (representing civic, business, social service and faith based groups) have attended open community forums, and other meetings to understand the Inspire Health plan. Even more community forums are planned. Norman Regional’s board meetings are also open to the public. The times/dates of these meetings are posted here.
14. The Health System is rushing to a decision without giving much data.
Norman Regional has been working with a national healthcare consulting company for more than a year on this plan. The Norman Regional Authority Board (which is appointed by the Mayor of Norman and confirmed by City Council) has been involved in every aspect of the planning for Inspire Health. So too have our physicians, employee healers and the community. We continue to invite the community to attend Inspire Health Plan forums this month and through October.
15. The City of Norman is at risk for approving debt this large.
This bond issue comes at no cost to the taxpayers. This will be a tax exempt revenue bond. The City is not responsible for any debt from the Inspire Health plan at any point. A vote to approve the issuance of bonds is not a pledge of full faith or credit by the City of Norman. There is zero liability to the city and its taxpayers.
16. The plan will leave central or core Norman without healthcare.
Central Norman will not be without healthcare. Many physician clinics that are part of the Norman family will remain on or near Porter Avenue. Inspire Health includes a free-standing emergency department on the southeast side of Norman. Also Norman Regional Hospital will remain open for at least two to three years during Inspire Health as services transition and the free-standing Emergency Department will be open before the Porter Avenue campus is closed.
Healthcare is more than an inpatient hospital. Norman Regional operates the following services inside core/central Norman: internal medicine, family medicine, two pulmonary clinics, laboratory services, the offices of Oklahoma Surgical Associates, home medical equipment, physical therapy, neurosurgery, occupational medicine, nephrology and GI of Norman’s clinic and endoscopy center both in core Norman and west Norman. Norman Regional also owns more than 21 acres of property on the existing Porter campus. All of these represent significant investments in central Norman and our community.
17. What will be on the eastside of Norman?
A full-service emergency department on the eastside will begin construction simultaneously with the HealthPlex expansion buildout. This emergency department will be built with future growth in mind and have lab, diagnostic imaging and other services. It will closely resemble the Norman Regional Moore facility. It will be located along the Highway 9 corridor and will provide greater accessibility to an underserved, and growing, segment of the community. The free-standing Emergency Department will likely be open before the Porter campus is transformed.
18. Moving inpatient beds to NW Norman will cause transportation issues for low-income residents.
Norman Regional operates a service called the Home Run Van. This service, sponsored by the Norman Regional Auxiliary provides transportation for qualifying, low-income residents. Also ambulance rides between Norman Regional facilities are provided at no-charge to the patient. The city’s transportation plan and bus routes should have a positive impact on traveler’s accessibility through and across Norman.
19. What is the relationship between the City of Norman and Norman Regional Health System? Competition should be allowed to enter the market.
Norman Regional Health System is a not-for-profit, locally owned and locally operated Health System. It is governed by the Norman Regional Hospital Authority, a public trust, which serves the public interests and functions as a political subdivision of the State of Oklahoma.
Our competitors are either regionally or nationally owned. None have any ties to Norman and the City of Norman would have limited to no control over any competitor. The City of Norman mayor and council members do not nominate or approve the board of any competitor. Norman Regional serves the best interests of the community and it is our mission, vision and goal to meet the needs of the community. Those competitors are not bound to open meetings for public attendance and/or input.
20. This plan was made by Norman Regional administrators or lay-person board members and not clinicians.
The Norman Regional Hospital Authority board is made up of citizens of Norman who have been nominated by the Mayor of Norman and appointed/approved by City Council. These board members are physicians, nurses, lawyers, professors and more who are charged with governing the health system on behalf of the entire Norman community. The Inspire Health plan was created by Norman Regional Health System with oversight by our board as well as input from local physicians, nurses and other clinicians. Our employees played an important role in the development of this plan.