What is now the J. D.
McCarty Center was founded in 1946, by a veterans
group called the 40 et 8 of Oklahoma. The 40 et 8
was an honor society within the American Legion.
A member of this group had a
grandson with cerebral palsy. He couldn’t find
anywhere in the state of Oklahoma who could
teach his grandson to walk or talk. This
grandfather was telling some of his fellow
40 et 8 members about his frustrating search
for help for his grandson while attending a
statewide 40 et 8 conference. Moved by the
grandfather’s story the organization voted
to create a facility that would provide the
physical, occupational, speech and language
therapy that these children needed to reach
their highest level of functionality and independence.
Their first facility was
located in a building on the U. S. Navy’s
former “South Base” in Norman, now the south
campus of the University of Oklahoma. The
first patient was admitted in 1947. The 40
et 8’s mission was to treat children regardless
of race, creed, color or the ability to pay.
It was the “ability to pay” part that kept
the 40 et 8 in constant fundraising mode to
help keep the doors open. For the long term
sustainability of the facility the 40 et 8
recognized that they were going to have to
do something different.
Their cause found a new
champion in the person of J. D. McCarty, a
member of the 40 et 8 and a member of the
Oklahoma House of Representatives. McCarty
used his influence to pass a bill to create
a state agency that would treat children
with cerebral palsy and be called the
Oklahoma Cerebral Palsy Institute. Another
bill in the senate sponsored by State
Senator Phil Smalley of Norman created a
state appropriation to cover annual
operating expenses. So, in 1948, the Oklahoma
Cerebral Palsy Institute became a state agency.
Central State Hospital
(now known as Griffin Memorial Hospital)
sold 10 acres of land to the Institute at
the corner of Alameda and 12th Avenue N. E.
in Norman for the sum of $1 for a new facility
to be built. This new facility opened its doors in 1952.
The 40 et 8 remained
active with the facility after it became a
state agency. The legislature created a three
member Cerebral Palsy Commission. This commission
acts as the managing board of directors for the
hospital. In the early years the commission was
made up of 40 et 8 members appointed by the
governor for 3 year terms. Today, the commission
is composed of five members appointed by the
governor, but the composition of the commission
is not entirely made up of members from the 40 et 8,
however; the 40 et 8 still participates in the
nomination process of potential commission members
to the governor. They also host an annual Christmas
party and open house for the inpatients.
On February 1, 1993, The McCarty
Center was licensed as a specialized pediatric rehab hospital.
The year 2001 brought a major change
to the clinical operations of the J. D. McCarty Center.
In July of that year, the hospital changed its clinical
care model from a cerebral palsy focus to a broader model
encompassing a wide variety of diagnoses.
The care model that the McCarty
Center now uses has a specially trained direct care
specialist assigned to each child admitted to our
hospital. Among other things, these direct care
specialists make sure that the inpatient’s care plan
is implemented throughout the day, including any
behavior modification plan the child might be on,
sees that he child is in therapy at the appointed
times, records and reports various observations of
the patient for the nursing staff and assists the
patient while they are in school.
In October 2004, the McCarty
Center moved into a brand new, state-of-the-art
pediatric rehab hospital facility. The new hospital
is located on an 80-acre campus at the corner of E.
Robinson and 24th Avenue N.E. in Norman. From this
location we serve almost 200 inpatients a year and
about 265 outpatients a week from all over the state