Cherokee Nation Health Services implements employee reorganization structure

02/23/2020 10:30 AM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
The Cherokee Nation’s new four-story outpatient health center opened its doors in October. Under a reorganization, CN Health Services leadership roles, functions and duties have been restructured with a team approach to meet the needs of patients, including reducing patient wait times and improving patient access to health care. COURTESY
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Dr. R. Stephen Jones
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Brian Hail
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Wayne Coldwell
TAHLEQUAH – Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. has named Dr. R. Stephen Jones, of Tahlequah, as executive director of Health Services. The promotion of Jones follows changes to Cherokee Nation Health Services’ employee organization structure, implemented to better focus on customer service and patient advocacy within the tribe’s health facilities. 

Under the reorganization, Health Services leadership roles, functions and duties have been restructured with a team approach to meet the needs of patients, including reducing patient wait times and improving patient access to health care. 

Hoskin first announced plans for the health system’s reorganization in November during the opening of the 469,000-square-foot CN outpatient health center in Tahlequah. 

“When I took office in August, I knew I wanted our Cherokee citizens to not only receive the best health care right here in the Cherokee Nation, but also with top-of-the-line customer service and reduced patient wait times,” Hoskin said. “With the opening of the largest health facility in the U.S. to be operated by a tribe, we have enhanced our health care infrastructure. Now, with these patient advocacy-focused positions in place and with the promotion of Dr. Jones to Executive Director, we can continue with our momentum in providing tribal citizens the highest quality health care, all in a timely manner.” 

The changes include new positions such as deputy directors for internal and external operations, medical records director, pharmacy director and senior director of behavioral health. 

“We are blessed to have such an experienced and committed staff to take the lead on important initiatives such as improving our patients’ access to health care and reducing the amount of time they wait to be seen during a visit to one of our Cherokee Nation health centers,” Deputy Chief Bryan Warner said. “I believe this leadership team will make positive progress for our health system in the coming months and years.” 

The CN operates the largest tribal health system in the country with more than 1.3 million patient visits per year at its W.W. Hastings Hospital, the outpatient health center on the Hastings campus and eight other outlying health centers. 

“I would like to thank Chief Hoskin and his administration for their continued support and confidence in me through this transition from interim to permanent executive director of Health Services,” Jones said. “I will continue striving to achieve the goals of increased access and expansion of core services for all Cherokee citizens, while focusing on our vision of healthy Cherokee people, families and communities for this and future generations. With that vision in mind Cherokee Nation Health has reorganized the administrative and clinical leadership in an effort to create a consistent system-wide approach to process improvement. To further expand our external partnerships there will be two deputy directors of Health. One will focus on internal operations and the other will focus on external operations. Collaboration and communication between senior directors, medical directors and administration will help to ensure processes are consistent for each facility throughout the Cherokee Nation which in turn will lead to improved efficiency and patients’ access to services.” 

The tribe’s new four-story outpatient health center opened its doors in October. The facility includes optometry, audiology, physical rehabilitation, behavioral health, radiology, lab, pharmacy services, primary care, dental and a resident clinic, as well as 240 exam rooms, an ambulatory surgery center and two MRI machines. 

Reorganized Health Services officials

· Brian Hail, deputy executive director of External Operations

· Wayne Coldwell, deputy executive director of Internal Operations

· Charles Smith, senior director of Clinical Administration for Outpatient Health Center

· Keeli Duncan, deputy clinic administrator for Outpatient Health Center

· Chandler Welch, deputy clinic administrator for Outpatient Health Center

· Elton Sunday, senior clinic administrator

· Jason Loepp, senior director of Health Business Operations

· Josh Looney, senior dental director

· Lewanda Teehee, medical records director

· Cindy Martin, clinic administrator for Three River Health Center

· Kari Barrett, pharmacy director

· Kim Chuculate, senior director of Hospital Administration for W. W. Hastings Hospital

· Dr. Sharon Smallwood, Tahlequah campus medical director

· Dr. James Stallcup, Wilma P. Mankiller Health Center medical director

· Juli Skinner, senior director of Behavior Health

· Ami Sams, senior director of Finance

· Michelle Graham, director of Health Service Education and Staff Development

· MaKenley Barton, deputy clinic administrator for W.W. Hastings Hospital

· Steve Carey, senior director of Contract Health

· Ashley Grant, director of Laboratory Services

· Rebecca Shepherd, senior director of Nursing

· Crosby Caughron, director of Physician Practice Management


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