Radiology technician Mandy Tucker explains how the new LOGIQ ultrasound and echo machine works on Nov. 5 at the tribe’s new Vinita Health Center in Vinita, Okla. JAMI CUSTER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX

Vinita Health Center officially opens its doors

Charlie Ferguson, laboratory supervisor, talks about the different equipment available in the new lab, including this machine that’s used to check hemoglobin A1c tests among other blood tests from patients, at the new Vinita Health Center in Vinita, Okla. JAMI CUSTER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX Cherokee Nation Health Services Director Connie Davis discusses the positive impact the Vinita Health Center will have on CN citizens in the area during a Nov. 5 grand opening for the center. JAMI CUSTER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Charlie Ferguson, laboratory supervisor, talks about the different equipment available in the new lab, including this machine that’s used to check hemoglobin A1c tests among other blood tests from patients, at the new Vinita Health Center in Vinita, Okla. JAMI CUSTER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
BY JAMI MURPHY
Reporter
11/13/2012 08:52 AM
VINITA, Okla. – Although it’s been taking patients since Sept. 4, Cherokee Nation officials and area residents gathered on Nov. 5 at the tribe’s new Vinita Health Center for its grand opening.

After remarks from CN officials, people were given tours of the $35 million clinic located at 27371 S. 4410 Road. The 92,000-square-foot facility is equipped for primary care, including a full pharmacy, lab, radiology and dental, as well as optometry services.

According to CN Communications, the previous tribal clinic in Vinita was a 4,000-square-foot facility. However, the new center means more doctors and services offered to the area.

Prior to the event, Principal Chief Bill John Baker said the Vinita Health Center’s construction would mean a lot to area CN citizens.

“It puts a clinic in the northeastern portion of the Cherokee Nation,” Baker said. “Since doing the soft opening (on Sept. 4), they’ve added over 500 new charts, and I think it will double and triple the services that we’re able to do up in this part of the Cherokee Nation.”

He added that the facility would take a burden off of CN citizens and other Native Americans who travel long distances to receive health care.

“I think we already found out that people are going to come in from Carthage, Mo., and Joplin, Mo., and from up in Kansas,” he said. “They’re Cherokees, but they haven’t had a facility to come to and now that we got it, I think they’re going to come.”

The grand opening was held in the center’s community gathering space, which can be rented for meetings and family gatherings starting at $25 with a $100 deposit, not including kitchen space.

Health Services Director Connie Davis said the Vinita Health Center’s staff is committed to its patients.

“It’s very clear that the people that are here working are not here for the money because they could make a lot more money driving about 70 miles down the road,” Davis said. “The people here are committed to serving the people and that’s the most important thing. I think that should give you a vote of confidence when you come in here they’re not here because it was a last choice.”

Dist. 4 Tribal Councilor Chuck Hoskin Jr. also commended the tribe’s new facility.

“Well it is a wonderful day to be a Cherokee in Vinita, Okla., ” he said. “Cherokees built this community, they’re still building it today.”

CN officials said the new clinic should bring 125 jobs, with more than 90 percent of those hired being Cherokee. They added that the Vinita Health Center is just a beginning to the improvements they plan to make to CN health facilities. In October, the Tribal Council approved a plan to raise about $80 million to expand or replace health centers and the W.W. Hastings Hospital.

Other facilities to be replaced or renovated are the Bartlesville Health Center, Sam Hider Community Health Center in Jay, Wilma P. Mankiller Health Center in Stilwell, Redbird Smith Health Center in Sallisaw, Three Rivers Health Center in Muskogee and the Jack Brown Center in Tahlequah.

jami-custer@cherokee.org


918-453-5560

About the Author
Reporter

Jami Murphy graduated from Locust Grove High School in 2000. She received her bachelor’s degree in mass communications in 2006 from Northeastern State University and began working at the Cherokee Phoenix in 2007.

She said the Cherokee Phoenix has allowed her the opportunity to share valuable information with the Cherokee people on a daily basis. 

Jami married Michael Murphy in 2014. They have two sons, Caden and Austin. Together they have four children, including Johnny and Chase. They also have two grandchildren, Bentley and Baylea. 

She is a Cherokee Nation citizen and said working for the Cherokee Phoenix has meant a great deal to her. 

“My great-great-great-great grandfather, John Leaf Springston, worked for the paper long ago. It’s like coming full circle. I’ve learned so much about myself, the Cherokee people and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.”

Jami is a member of the Native American Journalists Association, and Investigative Reporters and Editors. You can follow her on Twitter @jamilynnmurphy or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jamimurphy2014.
Reporter Jami Murphy graduated from Locust Grove High School in 2000. She received her bachelor’s degree in mass communications in 2006 from Northeastern State University and began working at the Cherokee Phoenix in 2007. She said the Cherokee Phoenix has allowed her the opportunity to share valuable information with the Cherokee people on a daily basis. Jami married Michael Murphy in 2014. They have two sons, Caden and Austin. Together they have four children, including Johnny and Chase. They also have two grandchildren, Bentley and Baylea. She is a Cherokee Nation citizen and said working for the Cherokee Phoenix has meant a great deal to her. “My great-great-great-great grandfather, John Leaf Springston, worked for the paper long ago. It’s like coming full circle. I’ve learned so much about myself, the Cherokee people and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.” Jami is a member of the Native American Journalists Association, and Investigative Reporters and Editors. You can follow her on Twitter @jamilynnmurphy or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jamimurphy2014.

Health

BY STAFF REPORTS
10/20/2014 03:45 PM
CATOOSA, Okla. – Throughout October, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa guests can enjoy a stay on a hotel floor decked out in pink décor and earn a chance to win a custom, restored 1955 pink Cadillac and purchase limited edition pink apparel. “We’ve taken pink to a whole new level this year, and it is a creative way for our guests and Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa to contribute to the ongoing fight against breast cancer,” Jon Davidson, hotel director of hospitality said. “We’re extremely proud to help bring awareness to Oklahoma Project Woman, because it is a local organization that provides services year-round to those who are battling a disease that impacts thousands of Oklahomans each year.” To contribute to the ongoing fight against breast cancer, The Hard Rock Store is also selling limited edition pink apparel with a portion of the proceeds being donated to Oklahoma Project Woman, which provides breast health education, no cost mammography, diagnostic procedures and surgical services for women who because of financial hardship may delay seeking medical attention. Also during the month, guests who book a room on the 10th floor of Hard Rock’s newest hotel tower will experience all pink amenities, including sheets, pillows, robes, elevator and hotel suite doors. For giveaway rules and details for the pink Cadillac or for more information, visit <a href="http://www.hardrockcasinotulsa.com" target="_blank">www.hardrockcasinotulsa.com</a> or visit the Cherokee Star Rewards Club.
BY JAMI MURPHY
Reporter
10/17/2014 02:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Tribal Council on Sept. 15 approved six people as members for the Cherokee Health Partners board. The board is made up of five voting members, three who represent the tribe and two who represent Northeastern Health Systems, formerly known as Tahlequah City Hospital. Each board member also has an alternate. Those approved on Sept. 15 were Cherokee Nation W.W. Hastings Hospital CEO Brian Hail; Health Finances Director Ami Sams; Connie Davis, CN Health Services executive director; Health Services Senior Director of Health Finances Rick Kelly; Senior Director of Health Services Sandie Taggart and Dr. Roger Montgomery, CN medical director. Other board members are Julie Ward, NHS vice president of finance; and Brian Woodliff, NHS president and CEO. Mark McCroskey, NHS vice president of operations; and NHS Vice President of Patient Care Donna Dallis, as well as Sams, Taggart and Montgomery will serve as alternate members. Board members selected by each entity to serve five-year terms can be reappointed. Board members are non-paid positions and are trained in regards to conflicts of interest. Hail said CHP was created in 2004. It is a CN limited liability company formed between the tribe’s comprehensive care agency and the Tahlequah Hospital Authority. “Cherokee Health Partners is now a Cherokee Nation LLC with the Cherokee Nation and Tahlequah Hospital Authority as partners,” Hail said. “Cherokee Health Partners was developed between Cherokee Nation and Tahlequah City Hospital, now known as Northeastern Health System, to provide imaging services in an integrated manner for both entities.” CHP focuses on “improving the quality, access and cost efficiency of imaging services” to areas served by both hospitals,” he said. “Additionally, Cherokee Health Partners overriding purpose was to further the nonprofit care which is at the heart of both entities’ mission,” Hail said. “Recently, Cherokee Health Partners’ operating agreement was amended to allow an expanded scope of services so that it can focus not just on imaging services for the community, but also on other medical services that can be better served by collaboration and coordination between the two partners.” Hail said the board helps provide personnel and equipment for specialized imaging services for both entities, including nuclear imaging, ultrasonography, echocardiography, and cardiac stress tests. “Having these services provided in the community by qualified staff members in the community means that patients don’t have to travel long distances for specialized care and that skilled jobs are created and kept within Northeastern Oklahoma,” he said. “Fewer patients have to be transferred for appropriate tests to be performed which means they’re able to stay in their community while receiving excellent medical care.” CHP is a partnership with the majority interest in the LLC being owned by CN, therefore, the tribe selects its representatives and no approval is necessary by outside of the CN. “The Tahlequah Hospital Authority Board of Trustees selects the representatives for Northeastern Health System,” he added. CHP hosts one annual business meeting a year at the Medical Office Building located at 1373 E. Boone Street in Tahlequah. “Additionally, meetings are open and are held as needed,” Hail said.
BY STAFF REPORTS
10/10/2014 02:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – To prepare for the upcoming influenza season, Cherokee Nation Health Services has an increased supply of vaccinations on hand to offer multiple flu clinics in October and November for Cherokees and citizens of federally recognized tribes. “Flu season is responsible for a lot of hospitalizations of children and elders. It’s so important that everybody – kids and adults – receive their flu vaccination before flu season starts,” Dr. Dante Perez, W.W. Hastings Hospital chief of pediatrics, said. “Vaccines allow our bodies to develop antibodies against the virus given time. It’s not automatic, and it doesn’t happen immediately. That’s why it’s so important to get it done early.” The tribe’s eight health centers and Hastings Hospital received more than 50,000 doses of the flu vaccine altogether. Flu clinics will be set up in more than 50 locations, including health centers and schools, to provide tribal citizens and their families with easier access to the vaccinations. In 2013, Health Services administered approximately 35,000 flu vaccines. “By establishing flu clinics in our health care facilities and communities, having vaccines available at scheduled patient visits and providing this service for a longer period of time, we hope to be even more successful at getting our citizens and their families vaccinated than last year,” Jennifer Belden, CN infection preventionist, said. “We are bringing the vaccines to the community by utilizing the public health nurses at several offsite locations. Our employees are dedicated to providing this service and eager to reach out to the community in order to combat this virus.” Hastings Hospital will kick off its flu clinic from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday on Oct. 8. Flu clinics will be set up at several other locations in Cherokee County, such as area schools, through Nov. 14. For a complete list of flu clinics within the 14-county tribal jurisdiction, click <a href="http://www.cherokee.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=yilAb5Fa73w%3d&tabid=5274&portalid=0&mid=5878" target="_blank">here</a>. Flu Clinic information will be updated regularly.
BY STAFF REPORTS
10/10/2014 12:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Seven Commissioned Corps officers who work for the Cherokee Nation were promoted on Sept. 26 during a ceremony at CN W.W. Hastings Hospital. “The Cherokee Nation’s relationship with the Commissioned Corps allows us access to expertise in fields of medicine and engineering that otherwise would be difficult to achieve in a rural setting,” W.W. Hastings Hospital CEO Brian Hail said. “These officers also provide us with a level of professionalism and commitment to health service that’s unsurpassed.” Clayton Myers, Amanda Bonner, Carl Coats and Linzi Allen, all pharmacists and Crystal Bright a nurse were all promoted to lieutenant commander. They all work at at Hastings. Steve Scott was promoted to commander. He is a pharmacist at the Three Rivers Health Center in Muskogee. David Gahn was promoted to captain. He is the surveillance coordinator for Cherokee Nation Public Health. There are approximately 100 Commissioned Corps officers who work in the Nation’s Health Services. The U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps is a group of uniformed health professionals who work to provide care to vulnerable and underserved populations in the United States.
BY STAFF REPORTS
10/07/2014 03:53 PM
MUSKOGEE, Okla. – The ninth annual Breast Cancer Awareness Event to benefit Women Who Care is slated for Oct. 23 at Arrowhead Mall. The event will be located at the west end of the mall near Dillard’s from 11:45 a.m. until 1:15 p.m. It will consist of a luncheon, silent auction and fashion show. The fashion show features breast cancer survivors modeling the latest fall fashions, according to a release. Cherokee Nation citizen Gina Olaya will be the guest speaker. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at Okie Country 101.7 in Arrowhead Mall. All proceeds will go to benefit Women Who Care, a 501(c)(3) organization that helps provide outreach, prevention, education and support about breast cancer to women in the Muskogee area. For more information, call Julie Ledbetter at 918-520-7872.
BY STAFF REPORTS
10/07/2014 03:48 PM
VINITA, Okla. – Cherokee Nation Vinita Health Center will host a health fair offering nutrition education, samples and door prizes from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Nov. 14. “Take advantage of this great opportunity to learn more about our clinic and the services Cherokee Nation and the Vinita Health Center now have available for you and your family,” a release states. The fair will also include door prizes, and attendees will be able to make appointments and receive information on immunizations and a blood drive. The clinic is located at 27371 S. 4410 Road. For more information, call Zachary Hamby at 918-559-2372, ext. 4841 or email zachary-hamby@cherokee.org.