PRYOR, OK — Pryor Times
New 42,000-square-foot facility will replace existing Sam Hider Health Center
JAY — The Cherokee Nation is pressing forward with plans to vastly expand its health care system across northeast Oklahoma. Tribal officials gathered today to mark the start of construction on a new health center in Jay that will replace the existing Sam Hider Health Center.
This is the third of four health centers and one hospital slated for expansion or replacement under the tribe’s $100 million health care improvement plan. Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker announced last spring the investment into the tribe’s health care system would be taken directly from casino profits.
“The clinic in Jay was one of the first health centers operated by the Cherokee Nation. It has served the people of this area well for nearly 30 years, but it’s time for an upgrade,” Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker said. “Our citizens in Delaware and nearby counties have received wonderful care but have dealt with cramped conditions for too long. I’m happy that we are finally able to make a meaningful investment in our health system that will impact the lives of so many. It’s long overdue, and our citizens deserve it.”
The tribe opened the Sam Hider Health Center in 1989, making it one of the oldest health centers in the tribe’s system. The existing 26,000-square-foot facility employs nearly 100 people and serviced more than 80,000 patient visits in 2013.
The new 42,000-square-foot health center will be constructed to accommodate a range of health services, including primary care, dental, optometry, radiology, behavioral health, public health nursing, pharmacy with mail order, laboratory, nutrition, WIC, contract health and diabetes care. The tribe is adding physical therapy to its service offering in Jay. The projected cost of construction is $13.5 million.
“Our people will benefit immensely from this new facility. A new health center in Jay allows us to offer better health services to more people,” said Connie Davis, executive director of Cherokee Nation Health Services. “The additional space gives our providers more exam rooms and allows us to expand our health services offerings, while treating our citizens more quickly and professionally.”
The plan includes new health centers in Jay and Ochelata, expansions in Stilwell and Sallisaw, and a new hospital in Tahlequah.
“Improving health care for Cherokees is among my top priorities, and this is just the beginning,” Baker said. “While we hope to complete this expansion of health care infrastructure in the next couple years, we won’t stop there. I pledge to continue finding ways to make the Cherokee people healthier, happier and stronger for many years to come.”
Cherokee Nation operates the largest tribal health system in the United States.
which consists of eight health centers throughout the Cherokee Nation and W.W. Hastings Hospital in Tahlequah.due.