2021 Veterans Hospital in Tulsa celebrates historic groundbreaking

Leaders from across government, academia, health care and philanthropy came together Oct. 15 to celebrate the ceremonial groundbreaking of the new Veterans Hospital in downtown Tulsa.

The new hospital — which will be housed on the expanded OSU Academic Medical District — will convert the existing Kerr-Edmondson buildings into a modern 275,000 square-foot, 58-bed medical-surgical hospital for veterans.

The project, Veterans Hospital in Tulsa (VHiT), is a collaboration between the federal government, state of Oklahoma, Tulsa County, city of Tulsa, private philanthropy and Oklahoma State University.

VHiT is a unique opportunity to secure a large and important veteran resource, operated by the VA, but developed by and for the local community. The proximity to OSU’s academic health care facilities will support a number of opportunities for collaboration, joint physician appointments, increased medical residencies and shared services, all of which will improve ease and efficiency for veterans.

More than two-thirds of the 47,000 veterans who receive services at the current Jack C. Montgomery Medical Center in Muskogee come from the Tulsa metro area. Of the 115,400-plus veterans in the Eastern Oklahoma VA area, approximately 68 percent are closer to Tulsa than to Muskogee, leading planners to estimate the new hospital could serve up to 14,000 more veterans annually.

Eastern Oklahoma VA Health Care System Director Mark E. Morgan said by expanding services in Tulsa the VA’s health care system in eastern Oklahoma will be strategically positioned to provide the highest level of care to veterans for decades to come.

The total estimated construction cost is $130 million, funded by the $120 million appropriation and $10 million in philanthropic support. The overall OSU Academic Medical District expansion includes a total of more than $73 million in support including contributions from: The Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation, Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies, Morningcrest Healthcare Foundation, Maxine and Jack Zarrow Family Foundation, The Helmerich Trust, Ruth Nelson, The H.A. and Mary K. Chapman Charitable Trust, Sarah and John Graves, Common Bond Foundation, William S. Smith Charitable Trust, city of Tulsa, Tulsa County and the state of Oklahoma.

Construction is slated to be completed and turned over to the VA for outfitting by late 2023 and open to patients in late 2024.