Chief Chat: Cherokee Easing Health Coverage | Opinions


Navigating a complex healthcare system can be difficult, especially for those who live far from their healthcare provider. The Cherokee Nation works hard to make that easy. Within the Cherokee Nation reservation, he has invested in ensuring that no Cherokee is more than 30 minutes drive from the clinic. Now, for the people of the Cherokee Nation, especially the many Cherokees living outside her 7,000 square mile reservation in northeastern Oklahoma, the new Patient Experience Team can make receiving care less stressful.

We know Cherokees are best cared for by other Cherokees within our award-winning healthcare system. A three-person patient experience team helps lay patients navigate the system and get the care they need and deserve. They will be your one-stop-shop to help make arrangements at the Cherokee Nation’s clinics and hospitals. We can also provide additional information about tribal facilities and clinics available in other states.

Cherokee Nation Health Services operates the largest healthcare system in India, serving more than 1.5 million patient visits annually. We are expanding our medical infrastructure and services to ensure broader inclusion of the Cherokee, who make up more than two-thirds of her tribal population.

Cherokee National Council members Julia Coates and Johnny Jack Kidwell, both of whom continue to be champions in many areas, have a special priority for health care. Together, we were able to expand hearing aid access to the Cherokee community. Today, the Patient Experience team is making healthcare even easier, thanks to their leadership and creative problem-solving. The team has already started visiting large community gatherings to better understand their needs.

Any Cherokee around the world can now pick up the phone and talk to another Cherokee about their health care. Cherokees can find advice on their own health and even the health of their families. And by continuing to strengthen telemedicine capabilities, we will be able to provide better quality care to our citizens wherever they live.

Today, the Cherokee are the national leaders in Native American medicine. Other tribes and health systems can count on us for new ideas like patient experience teams. We still have a lot to do, so we have to keep this momentum going. A healthy Cherokee community is a strong and prosperous Cherokee community, and that’s true in Tallequa, Salisaw, Texas, California, or anywhere on Earth.





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