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.


03/15/2018 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.
Reporter – @cp_sguthrie
02/28/2018 04:00 PM
SALINA – When caring for a baby in its first year, there are many factors to consider when it comes to diet. Tonya Swim, Cherokee Nation clinical dietitian, said it’s a time for maturing his or her digestive system as well as introducing his or her palette to various flavors. <strong>Birth to 4 months</strong> Swim said breastfeeding is the optimal way to feed babies, but if that’s not an option bottle-feeding formula is recommended unless their physicians state otherwise. “Breast milk seems to influence the…growth that’s in the digestive track of newborns,” she said. “By having that growth, it helps to support healthy immunity, and it helps with development.” She said breast milk is also specific to the baby, which is something formula can’t replicate. “So there is no way to replicate breast milk 100 percent and create a product that is identical to breast milk. That’s not possible,” she said. “One of the reasons being is because the breast milk that’s made is unique for each individual. If mom has three children her breast milk would be (a) different makeup in regards to the fat, the protein, the carbohydrates. That breast milk would be a different makeup for those children.” <strong>4 to 6 months</strong> Swim said typically at this time babies can be introduced to solid foods. “We’re looking at iron-fortified infant cereals because the baby has used up all of its iron stored that it had from birth,” she said. “Plain, strained or puree vegetables about one to two tablespoons. Plain meaning no salt, no spices, no seasoning. The same with fruit.” She added it might take longer for some babies to get to this stage. “The time depends on if the infant is able to sit up supported and if they have good head control. So that’s the first thing that we look for,” she said. “Babies will start to become more interactive at dinnertime, so they’ll kind of start reaching for your food or they’ll start watching you put your fork in your food and take your fork to your mouth. So that would be the second thing you would look for.” When introducing solid foods, Swim said there should be variety, but only one item at a time. “If they want to introduce sweet potatoes they would want to start with just a sweet potato puree, strained, whatever they’ve got, and they would only want to do that sweet potato for seven to 10 days to make sure there’s not going to be any type of allergic reaction,” she said. “If nothing happens then that next week they can introduce a different food.” Although babies are eating small portions of solid food, Swim said breast milk or formula should be their main nutrition source for the first year. “Table food is simply a complimentary. So we would always want to feed from the breast or the bottle first and then offer them those little bites of table food second,” she said. “It starts to help develop their palette. It starts to help introduce them to different flavors and textures, but it’s not meant to be the main source of nutrition at this point.” <strong>6 to 8 months</strong> Swim said serving sizes for solid foods can increase now. “You go from the two tablespoons of each thing a day, you may bump up to three to four on your fruits and vegetables, and then your iron-fortified cereals would be about four to six tablespoons a day,” she said. Swim said by this time the babies’ parents or guardians should help them work on their “pinching” skills, which leads them to become self-feeding. “That’s something that parents can kind of play with a little bit is encouraging the baby to pick up the food and kind of feed themselves,” she said. <strong>8 to 12 months</strong> Swim said babies should be using their fingers and trying to feed themselves, while parents or guardians should be increasing the babies’ daily solid foods intakes. “They should be getting on the higher end of that six tablespoons of cereal, four table spoons of the fruits and vegetables,” she said. “The texture of those fruits and vegetables can change now because a lot of babies have started getting some teeth in. Instead of it just being strained or pureed they can do some chopped on their fruits and vegetables now and chopped on their protein foods now.” She said while introducing the bigger-sized food it should be pea-sized and babies should attended as they eat. “Don’t ever leave a baby unattended whenever they’re eating because they can choke very easily.” <strong>Tonya’s Extra Tips</strong> Tonya Swim’s extra tips for babies under 12 months old are: • avoid honey because of “botulism,” a type of food poising that can grow on improperly sterilized preserved foods, • avoid sweet beverages, salt or butter, • remove seeds and pits from fruits, • avoid processed meats like hotdogs, lunchmeat and bacon, • avoid shellfish and egg whites because of allergies, and • avoid cow milk because a baby’s digestive track isn’t mature enough to properly break down the milk. • If eating cereal, avoid sweet cereals until about eight months because their digestive tract is still maturing • If eating cereal, avoid adding sugar or syrup. Swim suggests if parents or guardians have any concerns they should contact their pediatrician.