The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

September 17, 2012

Governor tours facilities at NORCE

Staff reports
Enid News & Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Gov. Mary Fallin made an unannounced visit Monday to Northern Oklahoma Resource Center of Enid to get a firsthand account of the operation and care delivered at the facility.

Last week, the governor made a similar visit to the Southern Oklahoma Resource Center in Pauls Valley.

During the visits, the governor spoke with administrators, staff and clients, toured the property, got an update on the condition of the facilities and was given a briefing on the types and quality of services provided to clients.

The Department of Human Services Commission is expected to consider a proposal to determine the future of both facilities relatively soon.

“For the clients of NORCE and SORC and their families, it’s important we work to provide them the best care possible,” Fallin said in a released statement. “Visiting these facilities in person gives me a greater understanding and firsthand knowledge about their operation. As we move forward and address the challenges ahead, it’s important we take our time to gather information so that we can proceed with a plan that benefits the clients at these facilities and their families.”

On Sept. 11, state leaders and members of Oklahoma Commission for Human Services took a tour of NORCE.

On the earlier tour were incoming House Rep. T.W. Shannon, R-Lawton, and Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, as well as OCHS members Brad Yarborough, Mike Peck and Linda English Weeks.

Anderson said the Sept. 11 tour emphasized Enid has medical, dental and therapy services available that other communities don’t have. He hopes the tour will convince OCHS commissioners of the feasibility of a consolidation plan to close SORC and bring all services to NORCE.

The consolidation plan was developed by Peck, an Enid resident and OCHS member. Peck, chairman of the commission’s property committee, gave a report at the June OCHS meeting in which he outlined the plan to close SORC and move most clients there to NORCE.

Anderson said he expects “the governor is going to announce her decision on how she is going to direct (OCHS) to vote on the issue” on Friday.

Anderson said NORCE should sell itself to help make the decision to consolidate to Enid an easy one.

“I’m thrilled the governor took the time to come visit the NORCE facility,” Anderson said. “I think that will be very helpful in her understanding of how important the facility is to the residents that live at the NORCE facility and to the wonderful services that the employees provide.

“I want to thank the governor for taking a leadership role in this serious issue. It’s great that she’s taken ownership. She’s obviously going to control the future of both facilities.”