CN receives Indian Health Services settlement funds

Multimedia Editor – @cp_mdreadfulwat
02/23/2018 04:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH – At the Jan. 17 Rules Committee meeting, Deputy Attorney General Chrissi Nimmo reported that the tribe was to receive settlement funds from the federal government. The settlement between the Cherokee Nation and Indian Health Service recoups contract support cost totaling more than $8.2 million.

The money was for unpaid support costs for 1998 in correlation to underpayments of more than $31 million, including interest and underpayments, between 2005 and 2013 and as a result of the Supreme Court case Cherokee Nation, et al v. Leavitt.

According to the 2004 Supreme Court opinion, the “Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act authorizes the Government and Indian tribes to enter into contracts in which tribes promise to supply federally funded services that a Government agency normally would provide.”

It also states the act “requires the government to pay…a tribe’s ‘contract support costs’ which are ‘reasonable costs’ that a federal agency would not have incurred, but which the tribe would incur in managing the program…”

However, in that timeframe the opinion states the reasoning the government did not pay the contract support costs as promised is because Congress had not appropriated enough funds.

“In the first case, the Tribes submitted administrative payment claims under the Contract Disputes Act of 1978, which the Department of the Interior (the appropriations manager) denied. They then brought a breach-of-contract action,” the opinion states. “The District Court found against them, and the Tenth Circuit affirmed. In the second case, the Cherokee Nation submitted claims to the Department of the Interior, which the Board of Contract Appeals ordered paid. The Federal Circuit affirmed.”

Nimmo said the tribe had to cover the IHS contract costs that were denied by using CN General Fund dollars.

“There were questions about whether or not half of it will go to the newly created Sovereign Wealth Fund because that law says that half of all settlements will go there,” Nimmo said. “This money…the reason it all goes to the General Fund is because it was improperly expended. And I say improperly not in the sense that we did anything wrong, but we should have, in 1998, we should have gotten this money from the federal government to support IHS contracts. Because we didn’t, we had to spend general tribal dollars to support those IHS contracts. So this money goes into basically replenish tribal dollars that were spent to support federal contracts.”

Nimmo added that the Tribal Council is able to appropriate the recouped funds however it deems necessary.

“The $8.2 million settlement will go into the tribe’s General Fund, where it will help provide the expanded and improved health care services our citizens deserve.” Nimmo said. “Going forward, we expect contract support costs to be funded in full as designated by treaty and federal trust responsibility.”
About the Author
Mark Dreadfulwater has worked for the Cherokee Phoenix since 2006. He began as a graphic designer, a position that exposed him to all factions of the organization. Upon completing his journalism degree from Northeastern State University in 2009, he was promoted to media specialist, switching his main focus to videography and visual journalism while maintaining his design duties. In 2012, he was promoted to multimedia editor.

He is a member of Native American Journalists Association, Society of Professional Journalists and Society for News Design. • 918-453-5087
Mark Dreadfulwater has worked for the Cherokee Phoenix since 2006. He began as a graphic designer, a position that exposed him to all factions of the organization. Upon completing his journalism degree from Northeastern State University in 2009, he was promoted to media specialist, switching his main focus to videography and visual journalism while maintaining his design duties. In 2012, he was promoted to multimedia editor. He is a member of Native American Journalists Association, Society of Professional Journalists and Society for News Design.


03/23/2018 03:00 PM
OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma City Indian Clinic, a nonprofit clinic providing health and wellness services to American Indians in central Oklahoma, on March 20 recognized the impact HIV/AIDS has on Native Americans through the observance of National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. Although American Indians and Alaska Natives’ HIV infection is proportional to the rest of the United States population size, certain measures within the overall statistics of new HIV infections and diagnoses are disproportionate compared to other races or ethnicities. Of the 39,513 people with a HIV diagnoses in the United States in 2015, more than 200 were American Indians and Alaska Natives. Of those, 73 percent were men and 26 percent were women. “The topic of HIV/AIDS remains a serious health threat to the Native American community,” OKCIC CEO Robyn Sunday-Allen said. “It is crucial that prevention programs be tailored to the specific needs of this population.” American Indians and Alaska Natives are statistically more likely to face challenges associated with risk for HIV infection, which includes high rates of sexually transmitted disease; substance abuse leading to engaging in risky behaviors, such as unprotected sex; and issues related to poverty, such as lower education levels and limited access to health care. The OKCIC encourages the Native community to get educated, get tested and get involved in HIV prevention, care and treatment. It recommends that all adults and young adults get tested for HIV at least once as a routine part of medical care. Those who are at a higher risk should get tested every year. There are ways to prevent HIV infection, including abstinence (not having sex), limiting the number of sexual partners, never injecting drugs and sharing needles and always use condoms properly when having sex. People may be able to take medication (Truvada) for PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis). The only way to know if you have HIV is to be tested. Knowing your HIV status helps you make choices that prevent you from getting HIV or from transmitting HIV. Visit <a href="" target="_blank"></a>, call 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636) or visit <a href="" target="_blank"></a> for more information. THE OKCIC was established in 1974 to provide health care and wellness services to American Indians in central Oklahoma. The clinic staff cares for more than 18,000 patients from more than 200 federally recognized tribes every year. American Indians receive services such as medical, dental, pediatrics, prenatal, pharmacy, optometry, physical fitness, nutrition, family programs and behavioral health services. For more information, call 405-948-4900 or visit <a href="" target="_blank"></a>.
03/22/2018 12:00 PM
SALINA – Every year when spring arrives, so do the sprouts of bright green stems in the woods and hollows known to Cherokees as wild onions. Wild onions are often cooked with grease or lard and are boiled or pan-fried. Cherokee Nation clinical dietitian Tonya Swim said there are healthier alternatives for preparing the plant. “A lot of people use lard or bacon grease and that’s a flavor enhancer. So an option that you can do instead using some sort of bacon grease or high-fat product would be to add some sort of stock, like vegetable stock, that would be able to add flavor without the extra fat,” she said. Swim said wild onions could also be cooked using vegetable oil when pan-fried. “If you’re going to pan fry with eggs, then using a vegetable oil instead of the bacon grease or lard would be a healthier choice,” she said. She added that they could be used in other recipes to replace related plants such as chives or scallions. “You can basically replace anything that would have what we call little green onions or chives. Anything that would have those as an ingredient you can…use the wild onions to replace that in pretty much any recipe.” She said one piece of wild onion contains approximately 20 calories, 4.65 gram of carbohydrates, and 0.96 grams of protein. It also contains 0.06 grams of fat but is rich in vitamins such as vitamins K and C. “I know that this is a very traditional thing for people. We as dietitians, we try to offer healthier alternatives,” Swim said. “The recipes that they use are individual per family. They have their own special twist. They have their own special take and they hold those near and dear to their heart.” Swim provided two recipes, one for traditional wild onions and the other containing wild onions as an alternative ingredient. Recipes are courtesy of the University of Kansas American Indian Health and Diet Project and can be found at <a href="" target="_blank"></a>. <strong>Wild Onions</strong> <strong>Ingredients:</strong> 1 cup of chopped wild onions (peel tough outer portion of bulb and cut away roots) 1 cup of vegetable stock <strong>Preparation:</strong> In heated frying pan or skillet, cook the onions in the stock until the water is almost gone. Then add desired seasonings (e.g. pepper and garlic). Add 6 stirred scrambled eggs (turkey, duck, goose or chicken) and cook until done, or just add onions to other dishes. <strong>Super Dip</strong> <strong>Ingredients:</strong> 1 cup of tomato salsa (finely blended) ½ cup of diced bell pepper 1 cup of hominy ½ cup of wild onions (or scallions from the store) 1 chopped jalapeno (or if preferred mild, use ¼ cup of pickled jalapenos) 1 cup of chopped tomatoes 1 cup of black-eyed peas salt to taste pepper to taste <strong>Preparation:</strong> Mix in bowl, cover and let sit for at least 12 hours to marinate. Serve with homemade tortillas.
03/15/2018 12:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH – Cherokee Nation W.W. Hastings Hospital CEO Brian Hail was recently named a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, an honor that has been awarded to less than 10,000 health care executives around the world. The American College of Healthcare Executives has more than 40,000 health care professionals whose mission is to achieve excellence in the health field. Members who achieve a high level of excellence and complete a set list of requirements are named a fellow of the college. “The health care management field plays a vital role in providing high-quality care to the people in our communities, which makes having a standard of excellence promoted by a professional organization critically important,” ACHE President and CEO Deborah J. Bowen, said. “By becoming an ACHE Fellow and earning the distinction of board certification from ACHE, health care leaders demonstrate a commitment to excellence in serving their patients and the community.” The board certification is a more than two-year process of meeting academic criteria, having health care experience, maintaining a high-level of character and professionalism and passing a comprehensive exam. “I believe that the FACHE credential represents the commitment to excellence in healthcare for our stakeholders,” Hail said. “Meeting the requirements and maintaining the credential helps to assure a commitment to ongoing development and learning in the healthcare landscape that is constantly changing.” In addition to serving as chief executive officer of W.W. Hastings Hospital for five years, Hail worked in the aeromedical field as a flight nurse for 13 years. He completed his master’s degree in business administration at Northeastern State University. For more information about ACHE, visit <a href="" target="_blank"></a>.
03/06/2018 12:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH - On Feb. 28, the Cherokee Nation became the first tribe to proclaim a day “Rare Disease Awareness Day.” Principal Chief Bill John Baker signed the proclamation with Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden; Jade Day, CN citizen and “Twist of Fate Funding” and patient engagement director; Health Services Medical Director Dr. James Stallcup; and Dr. James Baker, medical director at the Three Rivers Health Center in Muskogee, in attendance. Also in attendance was Day’s 10-year old-son, Gaven, who has FG1 Syndrome, a rare disease that has no current research, treatment or cure. It is a rare genetic syndrome caused by one or more recessive genes located on the X chromosome causing physical anomalies and developmental delays. There are more than 7,000 known rare diseases worldwide, and 95 percent of these diseases do not have a current treatment or cure. One in 10 Americans suffer from rare diseases, and more than 50 percent are children. More than 50 percent of those children will die before reaching their fifth birthday. Day urged Baker and the witnesses to encourage leaders worldwide in raising awareness of rare diseases and to expand research and improve access to treatments. For more information, call 918-869-3474 or email <a href="mailto:"></a>.
03/04/2018 04:00 PM
CLAREMORE – The Claremore Indian Hospital will sponsor a Veterans Affairs Enrollment Fair on March 8 in the hospital’s Conference Room 1. Hospital officials said the fair is set for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to assist their Native American veteran patients in applying for eligibility for health care services through the VA. “We will have Claremore Indian Hospital benefit coordinators and representatives from the VA to assist with the application processes,” Sheila Dishno, Claremore Indian Hospital patient benefit coordinator, said. “We will also have Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs here to help with those that need help filing a service claim. Please make plans to attend and bring your financial information (income and resource information) and DD-214 (military discharge) papers.” If already enrolled, call 918-342-6240, 918-342-6511 or 918-342-6559 so a hospital official can update your file.
03/03/2018 04:00 PM
CLAREMORE, Okla. – Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Oklahoma will be at the Claremore Indian Hospital on March 7 to assist patients with signing up for free to low-cost health insurance. The insurance company will be in Conference Room 2 from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. to help people sign up for health insurance. Sheila Dishno, patient benefit coordinator at the hospital, said people who attend the fair should bring their Social Security cards, pay stubs, W-2 forms or wage and tax statements, policy numbers for any current health insurance and information about any health insurance they or their families could get from an employer. The hospital is located at 101 S. Moore Ave. For more information, call 918-342-6240, 918-342-6559 or 918-342-6511.