340B Good Stewardship Principles Program

OU Medicine’s Commitment to Our Community

At OU Medicine, our mission is leading health care – in patient care, education and research. Through our combined efforts we strive to improve the lives of all people.

At the heart of our mission, we aim to improve the lives of all Oklahomans. That is why OU Medicine is dedicated to those in our community who are underserved. Wherever possible, OU Medicine is committed to identify, mitigate and address our community’s health needs.  With this in mind, OU Medicine has invested in work that meets health needs outside of the traditional medical model.

Our community benefits efforts are therefore aimed at meeting needs and improving health outcomes for those who are often underserved and under-represented in our community.

With 680 hospital beds, OU Medicine is a safety net hospital in Oklahoma County and Oklahoma more broadly. In 2019 alone, OU Medicine provided $113.5 million in charity care for uninsured patients and unreimbursed care. OU Medicine also serves a disproportionate number of underserved communities. Often relying on government payers, more than 60% of our patient population has highly complex health needs and are often underserved including older adults and children from low-income families. The variety of patients we serve, along with the work we do, aligns with the principles of that mission.

Throughout 2020, OU Medicine has been undergoing its first triennial Community Health Needs Assessment. This needs assessment is being performed in collaboration with many different stakeholders, including community-based organizations, social service agencies, cross-sectorial partners and more. The needs assessment aligns with the work from the Central Oklahoma Health Impact Team, a community-wide collaboration of hospitals throughout Oklahoma City, and the WellnessNow initiative, a broad-based community health improvement planning process. 

Through the 2020 needs assessment, OU Medicine and its partners identified several priority areas including: access to affordable safe housing; access to care, education, mental health, trauma, cancer, maternal health and older adult health; and the health of Oklahoma children.  Using these priorities the health system is developing its 2020-2022 implementation plan to serve as a strategic guide for the forthcoming community benefits work. That implementation plan, once finalized, will be available here. 

Community Benefits Efforts during the COVID-19 Response

COVID-19 has likely been a challenging time for every member of our community. OU Medicine’s primary work is providing the best possible care for the community and people we serve. Throughout this time we have been active in several community organizing efforts and with cross-sectorial community partners to build health and capacity wherever possible. One such group is the Central Oklahoma Health Impact Team.  Through that coalition, we have expanded access to telemedicine to some of our community’s most vulnerable in order to slow the spread of the disease. OU Medicine is committed to working together with the Oklahoma Health Center and our academic partner, the University of Oklahoma, striving to be the best community partner possible in these challenging times.

Community Benefits Program Highlights

While employees throughout OU Medicine primarily focus efforts on providing the highest quality healthcare, OU Medicine staff at all levels give their time to help make Oklahoma a better place. Through our Live to Give program, OU Medicine volunteers are actively involved with numerous charitable causes and strive to make a positive difference throughout the community. Since its creation in 2008, more than 3,000 OU Medicine staff volunteers have supported over 70 organizations. In 2019 alone, more than 500 volunteers participated in Live to Give-coordinated activities to accomplish work to enhance and strengthen communities.  

OU Medicine’s summer feeding program has been operational since 2018 to ensure Oklahoma children continue to receive adequate nutrition during summer break. Participating in the U.S. Department of Agriculture Summer Food Service Program, OU Medicine has provided thousands of meals at The Children’s Hospital since the beginning of the program. Meals and services are the same for all children up to age 18, regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability. Additionally, our mobile food teaching cart allows dialysis patients with extremely strict diets to learn how to cook appealing food that is easy to prepare and meets their dietary needs. Child Life supports the program and partners with food service on teaching.

Within The Children’s Hospital, certified Child Life specialists provide age and developmentally appropriate activities that emotionally support children and their families. Working as part of the healthcare team, they anticipate the needs of families and prepare play and educational opportunities as part of the care plan. Toys, gaming, special events and activities serve to distract from the hospital environment and necessary medical treatments. Kids connect with peers in ways that are familiar and fun.  Bear in My Chair is a school re-entry and support program for children who are hospitalized or out of school for an extended period due to injury or illness.  To ensure confidence in caring for tiny NICU babies before discharging home, The Children’s Hospital created a comprehensive Baby-Care Class, taught by certified Child Life specialists. The hands-on class provides in depth discharge information, education on healthy homes, safe sleep, smoking cessation and new-parent basics like diapering, soothing and support. Child Life was established in the late 1980s at The Children’s Hospital and has a presence in every pediatric area, the NICU and by consult to adult services. 

Above and beyond clinical care patients and their families receive, and in order to further support the socio-emotional needs of patients, several other initiatives are part of the OU Medicine care continuum. Music Therapy was established in 2016. As an extension of the patient’s care plan, individualized music therapy for pediatric patients — from drumming, tapping and strumming to songwriting and heartbeat recordings — provides an outlet for self-expression and coping. Additionally, Paws for Purpose began as an OU Medicine institutionalized initiative in The Children’s Hospital in 2017, extending from a strong volunteer pet therapy dog program—a patient favorite for more than 20 years. Many of the benefits associated with regular exercise – reduced stress and anxiety, decreased blood pressure and increased endorphins – also occur in connection with pet therapy. Strong connections are often made between animals and patients of all ages who deal with serious medical conditions. Therapy animals also support siblings, other family members and caretakers. Paired with members of the clinical teams, Facility Dogs can be in more sensitive clinical situations than Volunteer Pet Therapy dogs—which focus on general well visits and events.

Injury prevention has proven to be a major need in our community. OU Medicine leads many injury-prevention efforts in the state including its falls prevention initiatives and its car seat safety effort. Falls are both a leading cause of death among older adults in Oklahoma as well as the most common reason patients are brought into our trauma center.  Since 2010, OU medicine staff have trained over 354 new instructors in Tai Chi Moving for Better Balance curriculum.  The program partners with many different community partners, including faith-based communities, senior-living centers, and many others. On the other end of the age spectrum, a leading cause of death among children is motor-vehicle crashes.  OU Medicine’s car seat safety program has been operational since 2008 and serves hundreds of Oklahomans annually. The evidence-based program is only possible because of OU Medicine’s continued support and close collaboration with many county and state departments of health, community-based organizations and more.

OU Medicine proudly partners with the state’s only NCI-designated cancer center. Central to Stephenson Cancer Center is its ongoing community-based cancer prevention work, focused on strong community engagement, building capacity with and for community partners, and connecting Oklahomans to advanced research and treatment options. In the 2019 calendar year alone, Stephenson Cancer Center hosted 19 speaker and educational events with over 4,000 attendees, as well as 12 cancer screening events with more than 550 people screened for various types of cancer.

If you would like a more accessible version of the Community Health Needs Assessment and Implementation Plan, have questions or comments about community benefits, please contact Halley Reeves. We would love to hear from you. 


Halley Reeves
VP of Community Health Impact