CNO Take over of IHS, good or bad? Part 1
April 21, 2008
This announcement appeared in the local Media as well as the "Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma" (CNO) Website!
And has to be no good for the Cherokee People, simply because it begins with a lie, it is NOT the Cherokee Nation making the announcement, it is the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma!
"The Cherokee Nation will begin a "planning process" to decide if it should assume some or all operations at W.W. Hastings Indian Hospital in Tahlequah. Indian Health Service operates the hospital, and the facility is federal property, said Chief Executive Officer Ed McLemore.
The decision will be the Cherokee Nation´s to make, McLemore said. The Indian Self Determination Act provides the option for the Cherokees to take management control of the facility, he said. The hospital receives IHS funding, Medicare and Medicaid funds as well as third party payments, such as insurance.
Hastings is one of the most successful Indian hospitals in pulling in those third party payments, McLemore said. There was a 41 percent increase in such payments in the fiscal year 2003-2004. Collections went from $22.8 million to $30.8 million, he said. That was our biggest jump," he said. "There's been an intense effort to streamline the business process of this facility, which helped us increase and improve services."
According to Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chad Smith, taking over operation of Hastings would mean millions of dollars in new funding from IHS by removing layers of federal bureaucracy. "IHS officials in Oklahoma City get millions each year to oversee Hastings," tribal spokesman Mike Miller said."
I says no, the CNO is not ready nor capable of managing Hastings IHS. But if this is continued deceptively by/in some political manner/fashion, only those who are non-native will reap the rewards of employment by the CNO.
By fact of Public Law 93-638 aka Indian Self Determination Act requires that any and all tribes in the service area of any IHS facility must consent to the contracting or change in operations. I am told the UKB has a standing resolution directly refusing to consent to the take over by CNO.
And here in lies the rub for this plan, the timing is totally ill conceived given the prospects of the Congressional action by Congress to cut the funding for the CNO, but then wait, that is not a concern of Smith's...In fact what smith is eye balling is the increased or big jump in third party payments (Medicare) to Hastings Hospital, in addition to taking control of the funding of operations via the Oklahoma City Offices, by his actions against Cherokee people he no more cares about any improved heath care, than the man in the moon.
The announcement goes on to say:
"The additional funding would mean increased services at Hastings, including a wider variety of prescription drugs, said Melissa Gower, Health Services Group Leader for the Cherokee Nation. The tribe´s clinics offer a wider variety of prescription drugs than the hospital does, she said. "If we were all in the same comprehensive system, patients would have access to the same medications," Gower said.
The Cherokees have health clinics in Nowata, Salina, Sallisaw, Stilwell, Jay, Vinita and plan to open their largest clinic in Muskogee in early February. Patient eligibility would not change if the Cherokee Nation began operating some or all of the services at Hastings, she said. Hospital employees would have the choice of either remaining a federal employee or working for the Cherokee Nation, Miller said.
The tribe would reimburse IHS for the salaries of the employees wishing to remain federal employees, Miller said.
The Cherokee Nation wants every employee at Hastings to stay should the nation decide to assume any operations, Gower said. The planning process will begin June 1, but any transition of operations would not take place until Oct. 1, the beginning of a new fiscal year.
Shortly there after the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma (UKB) made an announcement it also planned to take over the IHS facilities as well!
"The United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma announced Tuesday it will attempt to contract to operate area Indian Health Services facilities, including W.W. Hastings Indian Hospital.
The UKB request includes all facilities in IHS´s Tahlequah Service Unit: W.W. Hastings Indian Hospital and other federally funded health service units, health programs and clinics operated or staffed by IHS.
The Cherokee Nation said last week it is considering a bid to manage Hastings.
A UKB media release states the tribe anticipates immediate discussions with the IHS. The UKB will make efforts to discuss the plan with with the present Tahlequah Service Unit employees as part of an effort to retain present IHS employees after the facilities are operated by the UKB, the release states.
The UKB has 12,000 members, 97 percent of whom live within the boundaries of its tribal jurisdiction in eastern Oklahoma, said spokesman Sammy Still.
He said the UKB is covered under the Oklahoma Indian Welfare Act, and "they (Cherokee Nation) are not."
He said other tribes in the jurisdiction are to be in agreement with anyone contracting Hastings.
"UKB tribal members are not getting fair treatment in health care or contract services — mainly because of the contract for contract services," Still said. "As UKB members, we're being denied services. Were trying to get contract services out of IHS — not trying to fight with the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. We're trying to get service we should receive."
He said although UKB are one-fourth bloods and anyone who has a Certificate Degree of Indian Blood card or anyone who is Native American would be served."
I say this is the best news I have seen the UKB come out with in a while. Now if they are prepared to take it all the way, which is going to have to include full scale legal battle when CNO objects as the Sovereign with jurisdictional authority over all that is Cherokee in the 14 counties of northeastern Oklahoma, it may just amount to something. As I have said in my other articles the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma (CNO) is BOGUS, and David Cornsilk my son explains it in THIS ARTICLE
The UKB know this and what it means, Chief Geroge Wickliffe has written on this quite extensively as you can see by going to the "United Keetoowah Web site" and the under News Tab click Archives for the hard copy, then check Chief Wickliffe's monthly letter to the people, some that I can remember off hand are for the month of February, both 2007 and 2008, and September of 2007, and there are others, where Wickliffe says the same thing I say, the CNO is BOGUS...
So, the Question is will they they fight for our rights as Cherokee under the Law, or will they let the Dictator of CNO continue to Dictate our lives as Keetoowah Cherokee people?
Of course we all know that Chad's a liar. He has lied so much he barely knows the truth anymore. In 1999 while campaigning for principal chief, Smith went to the employees of Hastings Hospital and informed them that he had no plans to take over the hospital and he would not even suggest such a thing. In 2004 Smith again ran for principal chief and gained the support of a majority of the employees of Hastings by promising them he would not seek a take over of the hospital. But then something happened in the June 2007 election that upset Smith no end. The two districts number one (1) and two (2) where the largest number of Cherokees are employed by either the Housing Authority or Hastings Hospital (and the CNO employees themselves) voted for Stacy Leeds for principal Chief and NOT Smith.
According to a source that send me things such as this said the word at the at the complex Smith is alleged to have said he would "make them pay" for embarrassing him in his own backyard. The Housing Authority has fallen. Hastings is next unless those employees wake up and do something immediately.
My Son David informed me his phone has been ringing off the hook with employees asking what they can do. he tell them to write letters to the editor of the area papers, contact congress and tell them they are opposed to the takeover. he tells them they must NOT hide behind pen names and aliases if they have any hope of saving their jobs and the hospital, stand up and be counted.
Unfortunately we cannot name names of who they are because they will not give us permission, we know the fear they have but their jobs are doomed if they do not act. Smith will take over the hospital, with a two year grace period, but within a few months that agreement will be meaningless because it will all be tribal and under the control of his council and court. And don't think you will have any rights in the tribal courts because he has them sewed up with his hand picked cronies.
David said "Smith lied to the Hastings employees about taking over the hospital and now he's out to punish them for being impudent enough to recognize the Cherokee Nation is in deep trouble under his so called "leadership" and voting for Stacy Leeds. Folks if you can't step up to the plate when the Cherokee people need you, then at least drop to your knees and pray."
I say not all Cherokee people believe a take over by either of the entities would be a good thing for the Cherokee People's benefit over all, of course with the CNO the reasoning is Obvious and I agree 100 percent, and My son David thinks the UKB are not equipped or Qualified to handle the take over either, and he sent me the following letter of Objection, and folks I think this is a good place to post the results of one of my efforts, I posted an electronic petition calling for a halt of the CNO take Over of IHS, there were not all that many Signatures but, if the saying is true that one electronic signature could represent as many a 7 like minded folks, then the petition was a success, and it is ready to print and mail or attach to an email and send to friends and elected officials, Click Here to Print or Send
When Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma officials sought to take over contract health from IHS, the stated purpose was to increase services to Indian people and reduce red tape and denials. That never happened.
Today contract health, after having been operated by CNO officials for more than a decade, is in worse shape than when it was a federally mandated and operated program.
Constantly short of funds and suffering from inflated administrative costs, Indians needing contracted health care in the Cherokee Nation often go under or worse unserved, leading to greater health concerns and even death.
I think the lack of ability to operate even the smallest of IHS programs, except to provide high paying jobs to political appointees of the Principal Chief, is enough evidence that neither the CNO, nor UKB should be permitted to take over Hastings Hospital.
While CNO has the resources from casino money to infuse the hospitals with needed cash, Smith has openly stated that he does not believe in social services to help the needy. His efforts to contract Hastings is nothing more than a power grab over a large number of Indian people he currently cannot control, while getting access to a large chunk of federal money. If they won't make it better they should leave it alone.
The UKB efforts to contract the hospital is simply put, survival mode in the face of attempted annihilation by Chad Smith and the CNO Council. The UKB is not prepared to operate that facility and does not have any resources available to infuse the under funded facility and increase services. If they can't make it better, they should leave it alone.
I think ALL IHS hospitals should be continued as they are, under the authority of Indian Health Service and operated as federal installations. Even though Hastings and Claremore are both medical ghettos and dinosaurs, they are better than nothing and many Cherokee people are totally dependent upon them for medical care.
I predict that a takeover by either the UKB or CNO would cause a total failure of the Indian medical systems and within ten years we'd either have no hospital or it would have to retrocede to IHS, never to fully recover.