CNB gives $1.5M check to Contract Health Services
5/16/2012 8:35:37 AM
 
Cherokee Nation Businesses Executive Vice President Shawn Slaton, middle, presents a check to Cherokee Nation Executive Director of Health Connie Davis and Principal Chief Bill John Baker at the May 14 Tribal Council meeting for a special $1.5 million dividend payment made possible through the sale of CNB’s corporate plane. COURTESY PHOTO
Cherokee Nation Businesses Executive Vice President Shawn Slaton, middle, presents a check to Cherokee Nation Executive Director of Health Connie Davis and Principal Chief Bill John Baker at the May 14 Tribal Council meeting for a special $1.5 million dividend payment made possible through the sale of CNB’s corporate plane. COURTESY PHOTO
BY STAFF REPORTS TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Cherokee Nation’s Contract Health Services received a dividend check for $1.51 million during the May 14 Tribal Council meeting thanks to the sale of Cherokee Nation Businesses’ corporate plane. Authorized by CNB’s board of directors, the check stemmed from the sale of CNB’s C-90B Raytheon King Air, which sold on March 30 for $1.58 million to Jackson Demolition of Albany, N.Y. “We’re going to help a lot of our people with the money from that plane,” Principal Chief Bill John Baker said. “The Cherokee government is here to serve the Cherokee people and basic needs like the services provided by contract health are an obvious place to start.” Officials said the tribe’s health services are administered in two ways. Federally funded programs are earmarked for specific programs and procedures. Money designated for those programs cannot be redirected. Self-funded CN Contract Health Services, however, is more flexible in the types of services and items covered, giving the tribe discretion in how to best meet its citizens’ needs. “Contract Health (Services) is one of the most important ways we serve the Cherokee people,” Baker said. “That’s how we fill much needed gaps that are not covered by federal funding.” Officials said CNB used a professional broker to bid out the plane. Through the sale, CNB will save by eliminating the plane and its hangar-associated expenses, including maintenance and fuel. The plane became a topic of debate between former Principal Chief Chad Smith and Baker during the 2011 election. One of Baker’s campaign promises was to sell the plane if he were to become chief. Cherokee Nation Entertainment purchased the eight-seat plane in 2007 for $1.87 million, which replaced an older model plane that the tribe owned. According to flight records, the plane was used primarily by previous administrations for tribal business. This is the second funding increase for Contract Health Services since Baker has taken office. In November, Baker signed the Health Care Dividend Act, which authorized an additional 5 percent of casino profits be directed specifically to Contract Health Services. “I’ve made health care a top priority of my administration,” Baker said. “Ensuring our people have access to good health care ensures a better quality of life for all. It’s my hope that these types of changes leave a lasting legacy on our people.”
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