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Integris to build 4 microhospitals around Oklahoma City

New facilities will have between eight and 10 inpatient beds for observation and short stays, as well as emergency treatment and triage rooms.

Beth Jones Sanborn, Managing Editor

Rendering of new micro-hospitals(handout)Rendering of new micro-hospitals(handout)

Oklahoma nonprofit giant Integris said this week it will build at least four microhospitals across central Oklahoma that may help the state combat an ongoing lack of access to healthcare.

The first microhospital will open in the south Moore area in 2018 with at least three other facilities planned to open in different sections of metropolitan Oklahoma City within the next two years, the system said.

[Also: St. Vincent health system will open 8 microhospitals]

Microhospitals are small, fully licensed inpatient hospital facilities that are open around the clock. They have between eight and 10 inpatient beds for observation and short stays, as well as emergency treatment and triage rooms, primary care and specialty care physicians, diagnostic and other outpatient clinic services.

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"We are pleased to be the first health system in Oklahoma to build a hospital of this kind," Integris President and Chief Executive Officer Bruce Lawrence said in a statement. "Our new microhospitals will bring to local neighborhoods 90 percent of the healthcare services our patients and families may ever need."

As part of the expansion, Integris will partner with Emerus, a system that operates microhospitals nationwide.

[Also: 'Microhospitals' help health systems bridge gaps, meet demand]

Oklahoma has had a years-long lack of access to care, according to published reports. In fact, reports show a 2011 article in the New England Journal of Medicine ranked Oklahoma as the most access-challenged state in terms of healthcare.

In 2016, HealthGrove ranked it the fourth worst state for healthcare access. The study took data from the Health Indicators Warehouse, the U.S. Census and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and came up with a Health Care Access Score, and found the worst county in every state. This score was compiled based on physician density, dentist density, percent insured, median household income, number of mental health care shortage areas and whether or not there is a medicare-registered hospital in the county. 

According to their website, Integris is Oklahoma's largest nonprofit health system. It is comprised of hospitals, rehabilitation centers, physician clinics, mental health facilities, independent living centers and home health agencies located throughout most of the state. They are also a member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network. 

Twitter: @BethJSanborn