Bill John Baker: Cherokee Nation partners with Indian Health Service

Seated, from left: Robert G. McSwain of the Indian Health Service and Principal Chief Bill John Baker. Standing, from left:: Charles Grim, deputy director for Cherokee Nation Health Services, Gary Hartz, IHS director of environmental health and engineering, Chuck Hoskin, Cherokee Nation chief of staff, Tribal Council Speaker Joe Byrd, Brian Hail, CEO of W.W. Hastings Hospital and Connie Davis, executive director of Cherokee Nation Health Services. Photo from Anadisgoi / Cherokee Nation

Principal Chief Bill John Baker of the Cherokee Nation explains how a partnership with the Indian Health Service will lead to an expansion of tribal health facilities:
Later this spring we will break ground on the new facility, which is planned to be more than 450,000 square feet. Cherokee Nation will construct the facility at a cost of between $150 and $175 million. IHS will provide the staffing, including doctors, nurses and other professionals, a cost estimated to be more than $80 million annually for at least 20 years and likely longer.

This historic project will be transformative for generations of our citizens in northeast Oklahoma. Our plan was to take a big step forward for Cherokee health care; instead, we took a giant leap of faith and surpassed anything we could have hoped for.

Once complete, sometime in late 2019, this will be a state-of-the-art health care center and the absolute crown jewel in our health care system. This is far and away the largest project IHS has ever helped a tribal government achieve. Our hospital is twice as big as the next largest IHS joint venture. It is something monumental, and it’s something we should all be proud of.

IHS will work through Congress to secure the funds for staffing and operations for the life of the building. IHS saw Cherokee Nation as a good partner to deliver quality care, and together we are making the health of Indian Country our top priority.

Get the Story:
Bill John Baker: IHS partnership will improve health care for generations of Cherokees (The Native American Times 3/4)

Also Today:
Cherokee Nation partners with Indian Health Service on Oklahoma hospital (The Oklahoman 2/25)
Cherokee Nation secures millions in federal funds for massive expansion of Tahlequah hospital (The Tulsa World 2/25)

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