CN-IHS joint venture to add 800 jobs
An aerial view of the new Cherokee Nation Outpatient Health Care facility being constructed in Tahlequah. The facility is projected to bring in 800 new jobs during the next several years. COURTESY
TAHLEQUAH – The Cherokee Nation W.W. Hastings Hospital and Indian Health Services joint-venture outpatient health care facility, slated to open in September, is expected to bring in 800 new jobs during the next several years as the need for physicians, providers, nurses, specialists, support and clerical staff are identified.
“It’s built on the size to meet our needs in this community for the next 15 years. That’s why the size is the way it is, because the need is so great and projected to grow year after year,” Dr. Stephen Jones, CN Health Services interim director, said.
The nearly 470,000-square-foot facility is four stories high and features five surgical suites and two endoscopy suites inside its ambulatory surgical center, 33 dental chairs, six eye exam rooms and three audiology-testing booths. It also contains rehabilitation services, behavioral health and space for a wellness center.
Jones said after its opening, the 300 jobs with outpatient care teams at the existing Hastings facility will transition to the new facility. An additional 100 employees have been hired since January to help get the new facility ready for the opening.
“Those are already existing on this year’s budget and we’ve already started hiring those, they’ve been going since January. And a lot of those positions are already filled and moving, are employed now,” Jones said.
For fiscal year 2019-20, Jones said more than 200 jobs will be available.
“As we get people over into the new facility and we have more space to work in, we’ll have more support staff, we’ll have more provider room, and those jobs vary from all the way up to physicians, specialists down to clerical support,” he said.
He said currently the outpatient facility at Hastings is so limited on space that there is not enough adequate support around each physician or provider. “So that’s going to allow us to hire that extra support which will increase access and decrease wait times,” Jones said.
“As we get into the facility, there’s going to be other determinations made like we need an extra clerical person here, we need another provider,” he said. “We don’t have enough providers here. So we’re starting to identify those, and we’ll be adding them as we identify them.”
Jones said there would also be opportunities for specialty programs Health Services has never had. For example, he said they expect to hire a specialist in imaging for MRI machine services.
“Imaging is one of the bigger (services), as we do contract all that out. So we’re going to be able to keep those types of services in house. Some of our dental specialties that we contract out, we’re going to be able to keep those in house by bringing in some pediatric dentists and oral surgery,” Jones said. “We’ve always had to outsource that, so those type of programs that we’re going to be adding…we’re not going to have to outsource anymore, are also going to provide jobs.”
He said as outpatient services move into the new facility, the existing hospital will expand its in-patient services rather than send patients to other facilities because of lack of capacity or services.
“Our intent is to expand our inpatient services, too. We are going to be able to take care of them right here on our campus rather than send them out to another facility where the family has to travel to be close to the person who has a medical issue,” Jones said.
In-patient operations, emergency services, labor and delivery decks, diagnostic imaging and pharmacy will remain at the current Hastings facility.
In addition to the new outpatient facility, the Oklahoma State University College of Osteopathic Medicine is being built on the Hastings campus. The OSU facility will also bring in more jobs, though not related to the CN-IHS joint venture. However, students will have the opportunity to train at Hastings with doctors and providers.
“Our responsibility is to maintain the building, maintain the grounds around the building. It’s not a shared service. We don’t hire their people. We don’t run their program. They are located on our campus. We have their students working in our facilities. They’ll have an opportunity to come in and do training under our physicians and our providers,” Jones said.
Job recruitment will take place via CN Career Services and postings online. Jobs posts for the new facility are at www.practicelink.com/JobBoard/JobSearchResults?members=Cherokee-Nation
for areas such as pediatric dentistry, oral surgery for dentistry, occupational therapy and in behavioral health.