Two lawmakers who’ve been among the most vocal advocates for patients and families at the Southern Oklahoma Resource Center (SORC) in Pauls Valley said they were very encouraged by their meeting with the governor about the future of the facility, and that of the Northern Oklahoma Resource Center of Enid (NORCE). Sen. Susan Paddack, D-Ada, and Rep. Lisa Billy, R-Purcell, also said as policy-makers move forward, it is important that more accurate information about the two facilities is part of the conversation. The lawmakers said the tone set by Gov. Mary Fallin last month gave them renewed optimism about frank, open discussion about the centers.
“We want to applaud Governor Mary Fallin for her approach to this on-going issue. She’s made unannounced visits to get a first-hand view of the situations, and she’s listening to all the stake-holders,” said Paddack. “We were extremely impressed by her interest in considering all options as we search for the best way to meet the needs of residents and their families.”
Paddack said she and Billy had been frustrated by those pushing to close SORC and transfer patients to NORCE. Proponents of that plan have argued that the Enid facility did not have structural issues at their facility such as those facing the Pauls Valley Center.
“Just within the last few days we’re starting to learn that there has been a great deal of misinformation. Like SORC, NORCE also has buildings that cannot currently meet federal standards and must have renovations, including the installation of sprinkler systems,” Paddack said. “We’ve been told that parts of their facility cannot even adequately accommodate wheelchair-bound residents.”
Billy said there were other problems with the plan to move residents from Pauls Valley to Enid that have not been discussed.
“NORCE is licensed to care for a specific number of residents—the people pushing to shut SORC have not even addressed the fact that transferring them to Enid may not even be possible because of restrictions on how many residents they can absorb there,” Billy said. “We must also consider many of the parents and guardians have moved their careers and families to the Pauls Valley area in order to be near their loved ones at SORC."
“We must consider all viable options as we work together to determine what the next step should be. Whether it is a private/public partnership to serve residents in those communities or another option, we’re heartened by the governor’s openness in finding the best way to proceed,” Paddack said. “Now we need to make sure that all of us—including the governor, lawmakers, patient advocates, healthcare providers and our citizens—are given accurate and complete information about both facilities as we go forward.”