Investigating the Business of Oklahoma’s Rural Hospitals


This series was produced in partnership with ProPublica, a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. The Frontier is a member of the ProPublica Local Reporting Network.

The only hospital in Mangum was failing. They promised to help but only made it worse.

BRIANNA BAILEY  June 4, 2020

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Rural Oklahoma communities are desperate to protect their vulnerable hospitals and hand the reins to management companies that say they’re turnaround experts. Instead some companies failed the hospitals, bled them dry and expedited their demise.


These Hospitals Pinned Their Hopes on Private Management Companies. Now They’re Deeper in Debt.

BRIANNA BAILEY  July 22, 2020

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At least 13 hospitals in Oklahoma have closed or experienced added financial distress under the management of private companies. Some companies charged hefty management fees, promising to infuse millions of dollars that never materialized.

She needed lifesaving medication, but the only hospital in her Oklahoma town did not have it

BRIANNA BAILEY THE FRONTIER, AND MAYA MILLER, PROPUBLICA  July 1, 2020

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Mabel Garcia went to the only emergency room in Texas County, Oklahoma, which didn’t have a drug for heart attacks and strokes. She was airlifted to a larger hospital that gave her the drug she needed, but it was too late. She suffered brain damage.


This Oklahoma hospital has only 8 nurses left. They double as the janitors.

BRIANNA BAILEY  April 23, 2020

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Eight nurses are the overwhelming majority of employees who remain at Haskell County Community Hospital. The future of the 25-bed hospital, which has been whittled down to operating only an emergency room since 2019, is increasingly grim.